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Since 1970

THE 2012

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SUNDAY, APR 1, 2012 Upper West Side Congregation Rodeph Sholom 7 W. 83rd St. 12PM - 3PM

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HERE COME THE SPARTANS

Notes from the Neighborhood Compiled by Megan Bungeroth

OSHA FINDS VIOLATIONS IN SECOND AVE. SUBWAY

Cynical pols deliver conventional wisdom that voters don’t care about redistricting, but don’t tell that to New York City Council candidate Benjamin Kallos, reports City & State. The East Side aspirant for Council Member Jessica Lappin’s seat is holding a fundraiser next month featuring Mark Favors, the lead plaintiff in the Favors v. Cuomo lawsuit challenging the state’s method of drawing new districting lines. It’s a natural issue for Kallos, executive director of Bill Samuels’ New Roosevelt Initiative, though he acknowledged it’s an unusual draw for an event with a top ticket price of $1,000. Kallos said he’s trying to run “a substantive campaign about the issues that not only affect the district but the city as a whole.”

CITY PLANS BETTER WATERFRONT ACCESS New York City wants to make more

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued several serious violations and fines to SSK, the company contracted to dig the Second Avenue Subway tunnels. The agency found that workers in the tunnel were not properly tested and fitted for the masks and respirators they were wearing, which brought fines of $4,250. A separate fine was issued for another $4,250 for exposing workers to three times the allowable levels of silica dust, which, according to OSHA, is a “human lung carcinogen.” High levels of exposure can lead to serious lung conditions. Silica is contained in the shotcrete that workers spray on the tunnel walls and is commonly found in construction and blasting sites, but SSK is now required to abate the levels to meet OSHA standards or face more fines.

EAST SIDE CHALLENGER PUSHES REFORM

With shields and spears at the ready, the Greek Warriors line up in preperation for their march in the annual Greek Indpendence Parade along Fifth Avenue on March 25. For more photos from the parade, visit the gallery section at www. nypress.com. space for boats along its waterfront— everything from kayaks to ferries to historic tall ships—which is good news for the East Side. City & State reports that a new plan put out for public review earlier this week would open the city’s 520 miles of waterfront for expanded ferry service, with new piers designed to handle other vessels from small to large that would

draw more New Yorkers to riverbanks and shorelines. “The city will change the way that it evaluates and measures waterfront projects,” said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, who said the new rules would establish 10 policies that proposed waterfront developments have to comply with.

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By Sean Creamer

Crime Does Not Smell Like Roses

One malodorous crook must have been short on cash and was raising a stink. Monday, March 27, at 5 p.m., a middle-aged white man sporting a black hoodie entered a drugstore on 1st Avenue and proceeded to shove 23 sticks of deodorant into his knapsack. The stinker took off before employees could get a good look at him.

Robbery is Not ADA-Approved

Bad hygiene seemed to be a common theme Monday, March 27. At another drugstore, this one on Lexington Avenue, the general manager noticed a crook taking packets of Orbit gum and shoving them into a black plastic bag he had with him. The man exited the building without paying. The manager approached the man and got much more than a whiff of his bad breath—“I’m going to stab you,” the perp said as he struck the manager across the face and took off. The “good clean feeling” was short-lived for the criminal after he was identified and arrested in his home.

Not-So-Serene Setting People sitting on a bench in a park is an iconic thing to see when sauntering around the city. Such sights are usually the focus of photographs on postcards, but on Saturday, March 24, a late-night loiterer was subjected to a beating, not a photo shoot. At 2 a.m., a man was sitting on a bench at the park off 59th Street at Second Avenue when a white man in his forties attacked the victim from behind, giving him a large cut and several bruises. The attacker followed

the man and continued to throw random items at him until he got tired of his seemingly random assault and took down 59th Street. So far, there have been no arrests.

Deft Hands Over Dinner Carrying your valuables is a hassle—one must worry about being pickpocketed, mugged or worse on the city streets. Usually, however, a restaurant is considered a safe haven, where you can relax and sit down for a meal uninterrupted by the fear of theft. A recent string of purse thefts in restaurants has left many women without their wallets and other valuables. The thefts began in January of this year and the most recent occurred March 4. The thefts have taken place across the Upper East Side, ranging from in coffee shops to Chinese food restaurants. Eyewitnesses have identified two black women, both about 5-foot-6, 125-145 pounds, as the perpetrators. One of them sports a tattoo upon her chest, according to witnesses.

Too Good to Be True March 9 and 10, a pair of con men called a famous department store in the Upper East Side with promises of selling them discount electronics, but instead of delivering, the men made off with over $4,000 in cash. The two-man team consisted of “Tony,” who called the store saying he had the merchandise, and “Jimmy,” who showed up to take the money and split through an employee exit. So far, there have been no arrests and the two men are at large.

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feature

The Man Repeller Opens Up Leandra Medine, the 23-year-old behind the fashion world’s most influential blog, gives the scoop on her engagement, wedding dress, upcoming book and all things fashion By Carson Griffith

F

“Leandra reminds me of what Katharine Hepburn was to fashion in a time when women only wore skirts and she wore pants. She stood for the modern woman in an era of glamor,” Rebecca Minkoff said. she admitted, when I asked her for her Fashion Week schedule. Among them are Calvin Klein and Derek Lam, both coveted first-year invites for the blogger, but she did not attend the show of one of her favorite young designers, Alexander Wang. Strangely enough for Medine, she missed the hot ticket taking place

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PHotograPHed by araM bedroSSian

or maybe the first time in her career, Leandra Medine is showing signs of opening up. The 23-year-old blogger, known to readers of her site as “The Man Repeller,” has followed a strict mantra of being “personable over personal” that has made her irresistible, if not entirely accessible, to her fans. But with a recent engagement and an upcoming wedding at the St. Regis, she’s slowly coming out of her Thakoon cocoon. Over a latté at The Smile in Noho on the Friday before Fashion Week, Medine almost looks like she’s wearing a disguise. Having made her living for over the past two years on the promotion of fashion-forward, often wacky attire, it’s slightly disappointing to find the native New Yorker in an oversized sweater and scarf. But a large, sparkly engagement ring and an “arm party” of bracelets—a term Medine herself has coined—make up for the lack of a tufted skirt with multiple layers or high-waisted shorts. The Upper East Sider has made time for me in her morning between a flurry of meetings that include styling a Lila Horn show for Fashion Week and working on her popular blog, which garners 2 million hits a month and helped her top Adweek’s “Fashion’s Power 25 list” last September, beating out Lady Gaga, Anna Wintour, Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton. “I’ve RSVPed to, like, 50 shows,”

Saturday, Feb. 11 to attend her own engagement party. Donning a short white Marchesa dress at 583 Park, Medine’s friends and family came to celebrate her engagement to her long-term, on-and-off boyfriend, whom she keeps anonymous on her blog and won’t name here. When I asked what he does for a living, she said, “We’re fulfilling all the New York stereotypes, which means . . .” she trailed off. “Finance,” I said. But getting back to fashion, the open-faced, long-legged brunette will not be slipping into a dress designed by Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig for her nuptials. While her Hair by Laura PoLko MakeuP by Scott McMaHan millions of readers and StyLed by aMy MicHeLLe SMitH 60,000 Twitter followers have waited with bated breath to hear who will be designing her wedding dress, it sounds as if she’s narrowed it down to one hot designer, one she also considers a friend: Prabal Gurung. Minkoff’s Fashion Week show, after, “We’re actually talk- Minkoff tells me, she challenged Medine ing about the prospect of to a walk-off after dinner on a rainy night. him doing my wedding Medine concluded her audition runway dress,” she smiled, almost strut with a funny routine from Saturday shyly, at the thought of a Night Live, which she watches regularly. custom-made gown on a It sealed the deal. “I love Becky,” Medine girl’s biggest day by one said, calling the designer by a pet name of fashion’s most popular when I inquire about the relationship. men. “I think Prabal Gurung The feeling is mutual. “Leandra is probably going to be the reminds me of what Katharine Hepburn most relevant and impor- was to fashion in a time when women tant designer in fashion five only wore skirts and she wore pants. She years from now. His collec- stood for the modern woman in an era of tions are insane.” glamor,” Minkoff enthused. “I appreciate As it is for any woman who has made her singular point of view; women love her career in fashion, it is easy for Medine the trends men hate. She’s fearless and to tick off a litany of favorite designers. empowers other people to be the same.” The difference, however, is that a number Minkoff keeps Medine on her mind in the of them, such as Gurung, are personal workplace as well. “We consider her part friends with the famous blogger. Last fall, of the brand’s family. Our barometer. We Medine walked the catwalk for Rebecca always ask ourselves: ‘How would the

Man Repeller wear this?’” Danielle Snyder, of the jewelry line Dannijo, created with her older sister Jodie, has developed an almost sister-like relationship with Medine since meeting her a year ago at a party for the blogging forum Tumblr. “It was love at first sight,” Snyder said, adding she thinks they’ve spent “364 out of the 365 days” that they’ve known each other together. “She’s like a fox on oversized clogs,” she said about the blogger’s ability to actually not repel men. “I never tease her because just when I think she’s looking too hot, I realize she hasn’t shaved her legs in way too long.” “I feel so blessed I’ve become so close with (Danielle and Jodie),” Medine said earnestly, despite Snyder’s joking commentary and despite the fact that she has never in her life owned a pair of clogs. Medine helped host a dinner with the sisters the night before Fashion Week last season and has another collaboration with Dannijo due out next month, called Mr. Dannijo’s Eye Spies, a take-off of their original Mr. Dannijo collaboration. She admits not everyone is singing her praises though. The “haters,” as she calls them, are still lurking on the internet, ready to pounce on her every move, due to her quick, not unwarranted, success. Despite receiving lengthy and numerous congratulations upon posting news of her engagement on her website, other sites condemned her for it as if it were a kind of betrayal. “I didn’t mean for the ‘man repeller’ to be me (initially),” she said, explaining that the name of the site and online persona was about making a “social comment about fashion.” This story first appeared in the March issue of AVENUE. For the rest of the story, visit avenueinsider.com N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


news

Breath of Fresh Air Upper East Side steam plant converts to natural gas

O u r To w n NY. c o m

besieged by Second Avenue Subway construction. Shannon said that Con Edison is hoping for permits that allow them to work weekdays after 8 a.m., but the DOT has the final say on permitted times. The second phase of construction will be mostly inside the plant and is slated for completion in December 2013.

Patricia Voulgaris

By Megan Bungeroth Officials from Con Edison are paving the way to convert both of their Manhattan steam generating plants into natural gas-fueled facilities. Last week, representatives from the energy company came to Community Board 8 to explain how the conversion would work at their Upper East Side plant on East 74th Street and York Avenue. “This will give Con Edison the ability to burn gas and support the city’s goal to expand the use of natural gas and reduce the use of No. 4 and No. 6 fuel oil,” said Jim Shannon, who works for Con Ed and presented the information to the board. The plant currently produces steam by combusting oil in boilers, which causes air pollution in the form of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides, particulate matter and other harmful elements. The Upper East Side has some of the worst air quality in the city due to the high number of older buildings that burn dirty fuel oil—Con Edison said that eliminating the steam plant, a source of this pollution, will significantly improve the neighborhood’s air quality. “We’re going to reduce the emissions coming from that stack,” said plant manager Gary Hugo, referring to the large tower that emits dark smoke when the plant is burning oil. Shannon said that after the plant is converted, there will be a 50 percent reduction in noxious pollutants emitted, the equivalent of removing 16,000 cars from the streets, as well as a 10 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The plant generates about 2 million steam pounds per hour (that’s 26.2 billion pounds annually), Con Edison said, and services about 1,735 customers in Manhattan. Steam is used to power both heating and cooling systems and is a very clean energy source at its point of use. The project will cost about $83 million, but officials say it will ultimately save many millions of dollars, which will be passed onto steam customers. Aside from its cost efficiency, Hugo said that a big reason Con Edison is moving ahead with the conversion is to meet regulations from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Some board members questioned how disruptive the work will be, especially for a neighborhood already

The ConEd power plant on East 74th Street between East End Avenue and the FDR Drive.

March 29, 2012

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Facelift for a Neighborhood Jewel Inwood House is a sanctuary for pregnant teens

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programs, such as Teen Choice and the after-school prevention program PRIME (Productive, Resourceful, Innovative, Motivated and Empowered) Leaders. These programs provide teen pregnancy and AIDS prevention education as well as counseling in schools and communitybased settings. The kitchen space in the basement has doubled and now includes a separate area

where mothers are given cooking classes on nutritious meals for themselves and their babies. “This place gives the girls and their babies a new start. The education we provide is long-term and helps them improve as individuals, productive employees and active citizens. If you want to break the cycle of poverty, Inwood House is one of the best long-term investments you can

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By Anam Baig A recent two-year renovation of the Upper East Side’s Inwood House, a sanctuary for young mothers and pregnant teens, provided more much-needed space for New York City’s vulnerable youth. Renovations of the 97-year-old building at 320 E. 82nd St. have transformed the space into a state-of-the-art facility equipped with a nursery, computer lab, fully loaded kitchen, classrooms and individual bedrooms for the 30 girls who live there. A technology grant provided by Cisco Systems has added modern innovations to the building as well as wireless Internet access. This Teen Family Learning Center provides educational programs, health classes and employable skills training for pregnant teens and mothers ages 14 and up. The girls have been referred to the Inwood House by agencies such as the Department of Children’s Services and Covenant House, a place for runaways. “It’s a real haven,” said Kathleen Cooney Clarke, assistant executive director for development and external affairs. “It’s a place where [teen mothers] can really develop the skills they need. You can’t change the fact that they’re 16-, 15-, 14-year-olds who need to do teenage things. They need to go to school, have friendships, discover what their talent is. Unfortunately, they’re here because they don’t have family support to help them through this. This gives them a safe environment to have encouragement.” Since its inception, Inwood House Maternity Residences and Family Support Programs has expanded to 22 program sites in New York City and New Jersey. They provide youth development, teen pregnancy prevention and family support programs to 4,000 pregnant and parenting teens annually that are homeless, in foster care or have become too old for foster care. The Inwood House started in New York City in the mid-1800s as a positive alternative living residence for destitute young prostitutes who were orphaned, pregnant or had run away from abusive homes. Much like today, philanthropists and volunteers provided the girls with shelter, a family and community, education and employable skills. Inwood House employs youth development teen pregnancy prevention

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March 29, 2012

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Dining

Sugar Rush at Coco Le Vu

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By Beth Mellow The sweet melody of “Sugar, Sugar” and other candy-themed music greets customers as they enter Coco Le Vu candy shop, which recently opened at 202 110th St. in East Harlem. Sisters Christine and Nalanie Milano, who co-own Coco Le Vu, decided to open a candy shop in honor of their father, who recently passed away. “Our father was a happy person, so we wanted to create a happy place. I mean, after all, who doesn’t love candy?” Christine Milano asked. Coco Le Vu stocks all kinds of sweets, from novelty candy, such as popcornflavored gummies, to old favorites like Now & Later and Bazooka gum. Visitors will also find Hello Kitty-branded candy and other whimsical confections. The store features gourmet chocolates that are handmade by the owners’ sister, Francine, a trained dessert chef, and offers gift baskets, products at wholesale rates and candy stations for special events. While both sisters are passionate about their business, neither had prior experience owning a store. Nalanie works in finance and balances her fulltime job with work at Coco Le Vu on weekends. Christine, who has over a decade of experience as an events planner, focuses solely on the shop. They are training staff and, Nalanie admits, “We’re learning along with them.” The sisters went to the National Candy Expo in 2011, met with potential vendors and visited candy shops across New York City in preparation for their opening.

The colorful interior of Coco Le Vuw. They also gave special consideration to the location of the store. “We originally considered Park Slope since it’s such a family-oriented neighborhood, but ultimately we decided to open in East Harlem because this is where we grew up and we still have a lot of support here,” Christine said. While the women no longer live in the neighborhood—Nalanie lives in Midtown and Christine lives in White Plains—they still have lots of friends, former neighbors and relatives who stop in at Coco Le Vu on a regular basis. In fact, they have collaborated

with other women they grew up with in East Harlem; the sisters are childhood friends with the founders of Amanesca, a catering and cooking education business, and have worked with them to host dessert-making classes for adults at the shop. Besides drawing on support from the community, the goal of opening Coco Le Vu in East Harlem is to give back to the neighborhood, specifically the children raised there. “We want to be associated with education; we are currently working with local PTAs and some of the teachers who taught us when we were young,” said

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Christine. The sisters are developing a rewards program for local students launching at their alma mater, P.S. 206. Kids who earn good grades are taken on field trips to the candy shop and are awarded the opportunity to choose from a bevy of tasty treats available there. In addition to celebrating the academic accomplishments of local children, Coco Le Vu also serves as a venue for other types of celebration. There is a party room in the back of the store where parents can host birthday parties, starting at $25 a head. While the sisters are thrilled by the warm reception they have received from the neighborhood, the fact that they are establishing a family business is what brings them the most pleasure. “All of our family works here. [Our dad] would always preach, ‘Family has to stick together,’ and enforced that, as sisters, we had to look out for each other,” Christina said. Even the Milanos youngest sister, Kaylene, who is still in high school, helps out on the cash register. For further information, visit www. cocolevu.com.

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Dining

Mixing and Matching Wine and Food From blue cheese to spicy vindaloo, finding that perfect vino match A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a bit about the basics of pairing wine with food. I received a lot of questions from friends who read the column and wanted more specifics, so this week I’m going to expand on some of the principles I introduced in the last piece. The first question, which I got from more people than any other, is, “What about wine and cheese?” This seems to be an area that is more daunting and intimidating than it needs to be. The ideas behind matching wine with cheese are as simple as the ideas behind matching wine with any other food—the three basic principles still apply. There are an enormous number of cheeses that have a marked acidity to them. This is due to the natural acids that are present in cow, sheep and goat’s milk. Under certain conditions, when those cheeses age, the enzymes that are present can make the acidity even sharper. This is

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the case with fresh goat’s milk cheese (or chevre, as it is called in France), which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. There are many other cheeses that have the same kind of sharpness to them. Humboldt Fog, which is also made from goat’s milk, and Bûcheron both fall into this category. In this instance, I would match them, with a wine that has acidity, as well. As I mentioned last week, this will hide the sourness and bring the more subtle flavors in the cheeses By Josh Perilo front and center. Then there is the entire palette of blue cheeses. Many of these are so strong that they are an acquired taste, but to those who appreciate them, they are among the highest regarded in the world. A classic pairing for most robust blue cheeses is port. This goes with the second principle I discussed last week: pairing opposite tastes together. In this case, it is salty and sweet. Even to someone who isn’t head over

heels for the blue-veined curd, this pairing can make it palatable. Match a port with a blue Shropshire and you’ll taste caramel, toasted hazelnut and a host of other intense flavors you’d never thought were there. The ultra-creamy cheeses present their own problems. With these, sometimes the fat content is so high that many people can only take a tiny portion before their palate is overwhelmed. The third principle is the best to use here; to match opposing textures. In this case, a rich and decadent Brillat-Savarin, which coats the tongue with every bite, should be matched with a heavier sparkling wine, like a blanc de noir. The bubbles clean the palate between bites, making the cheese less heavy and more enjoyable. Aside from the flavor profiles, a popular idea in the wine and food world is to match wines and cheeses together that originate from the same area. This goes to the French idea of terroir, which is the concept that the land, the air and the spe-

cific weather patterns and climate of any area can be tasted in the food and wine that are made from the produce of that place. If a wine from Burgundy tastes like Burgundy, then wouldn’t a cheese from Burgundy match with that wine? In many cases, the answer is yes. And, staying with the Burgundy example, there are a number of runny cheeses from the area, such as époisses, that match brilliantly with the delicate and complex pinot noirs from that region. Then I got hit with the second big question, which is “what about spicy food?” I quickly touched on it in the opening to my last piece on pairing but didn’t fully unpack it. The basic concept here is to put out the fire. It’s similar to the idea behind opposing tastes, but what you’re doing is tempering the heat. The best way to do that is to drink something with a moderate amount of sweetness to it. A riesling from the Mosel area of Germany is exactly what a spicy vindaloo wants to help cool its jets. Keep the wine and food questions coming! And don’t be afraid to experiment yourself to find out what works and what doesn’t. Follow Josh on Twitter: @joshperilo.

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March 29, 2012

OUR TOWN

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30-Year Anniversary Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts With FRIENDS like these, the neighborhood’s history is protected By Ashley Welch

W

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts helped restore and rededicate the Yorkville Clock in 1999 and continues to be its guardian. At the ceremony were (L-R) Teri Slater and Erin Gray of FRIENDS, preservationist Margot Gayle, Galyna Vaintonyak and Lisa Kersavage, former executive director at FRIENDS.

hen walking around the Upper East Side, one may notice a variety of buildings with distinct architectural features. Rows of brownstones, opulent mansions, brick townhouses and apartments are just a sampling of what the neighborhood has to offer. Many of these buildings are part of historic districts, areas that have been designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission because they have a special historical character that creates a “sense of place.” Some buildings are also individual landmarks. It is the belief of many in the neighborhood and around the city that buildings like these should be preserved. Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, a notfor-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving the architectural legacy of the Upper East Side, works to do just that. This year, the group is celebrating its 30th anniversary. FRIENDS works to protect the six historic districts and 126

Carnegie Hill Neighbors Congratulates

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts For its many successes in 30 years of service to historic preservation

individual landmarked buildings on the Upper East Side and is a prominent voice in discussions over preservation policies in New York City. “Studying these buildings is such a tangible way to understand history firsthand,” said Tara Kelly, executive director of FRIENDS. “You can actually see the interplay of time passing through buildings in these small neighborhoods.” When the organization formed in 1982, it was relatively small, according to Anne Millard, one of the founding members and the current president, with about 40 members. “As with many things in New York City, it began as a small neighborhood group and just continues to grow and grow,” she said. Over the years, the organization has accomplished much of what it has set out to do, including testifying at the designation of every new Upper East Side landmark in the last 30 years. Back when it was founded, FRIENDS created a monitoring program with over 120 volunteers to watch over the protected buildings in

the Carnegie Hill, Metropolitan Museum and Upper East Side Historic Districts. They also created a photographic inventory of every property in the Upper East Side Historic District, amounting to over 2,000 slides. In addition, the group established a successful education program for both children and adults, produced preservation manuals, maps and guides and received countless awards, including the Doris C. Freedman Award from Mayor David Dinkins in 1991. Other efforts have included an online web exhibit, a roster of free community education events, a walking tour and the listing of the district in the National Register in 2006. Perhaps its biggest achievement came in 2010, when the Landmarks Preservation Commission officially extended the Upper East Side Historic District to include 74 buildings along Lexington Avenue and the adjacent side streets between East 63rd and East 75th streets. This was the culmination of 10 years of work, which had Continued on next page

We congratulate

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts on the occasion of their 30th Anniversary working to preserve and protect the Upper East Side’s historic fabric. Many thanks for your support of our campaign to seek historic district status for Park Avenue north of 79th Street. Historic Park Avenue Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side

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BONE/LEVINE ARCHITECTS C ON GR A TULA TE S TH E

FRIENDS OF THE UPPER EAST SIDE HISTORIC DISTRICTS’

30TH ANNIVERSARY

BONE/ LEVINE ARCHITECTS SPECIALIZING IN HISTORIC PRESERVATION, EXTERIOR RESTORATION, BUILDING TRANSFORMATIONS, ENVELOPE PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS, FACADE INSPECTIONS, AND LOCAL LAW 11 SERVICES SINCE 1982.

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1654 2nd Ave #1 New York, NY (212) 879-3047 www.schallerweber.com O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

March 29, 2012

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friends of the upper east side Continued from previous page begun with members walking around the neighborhood and surveying the buildings to see where the district could be expanded. After extensive research on all of the buildings had been done, members of FRIENDS began discussions with the Landmarks Preservation Commission and hosted countless public meetings to garner support. On March 23, 2010, the extension was granted. “It was one of our biggest initiatives and we consider it one of FRIENDS’ greatest successes,” Kelly said. The group’s next large project is to explore the history of the immigrant experience on the Upper East Side. Members recently launched a historic resource survey of Yorkville, covering the area between 59th and 96th streets from Lexington Avenue to the East River. Though much less opulent than the mansions and apartment buildings in other sections of the Upper East Side, Kelly said the remnants of German, Czech, Hungarian and Irish immigrant families in the form of tenement, factory, school and church buildings are just as worthy of preservation. “Our goal is to find what is left of the distinct architectural features in the neighborhood and use it to tell the sto-

ries and heritage of the immigrants in Yorkville,” she said. For Franny Eberhart, chairperson of the preservation committee at FRIENDS, this project is especially important because it brings light to the architectural history of the neighborhood that may otherwise be overlooked. “It tells the rest of the story,” she said. “These buildings are different than the lavish mansions and homes of the rich. It tells the story of the other folks who lived on the Upper East Side.” Today, FRIENDS consists of 400 paid members and a mailing list of over 3,000 people. Many of the members live on the Upper East Side, though not all. “We have supporters all over the city,” Kelly said. “Some used to live here and moved. Others have never lived here but feel an affinity for the area and have a great interest in preserving it.” Kelly noted that just because the group’s main goal is protecting the buildings that are already there, it does not mean that it is against the construction of new buildings. “A common belief is that we are antidevelopment, and that’s not true at all,” Kelly said. “There are plenty of spaces for new buildings. What we do is look at if something significant happened in that area and decide if it should be preserved. We look back, but

The people who help keep Friends of the Upper Side Historic Districts running (L-R): Rita C. Chu, vice president; Anne Millard, president; Tara Kelly, executive director; and Matthew Coody, preservation associate. we also look ahead to see what people in the

future may think will be worth preserving.”

Congratulations FRIENDS! The Yorkville/Kleindeutschland Historial Society www.ykhs.org Kathy Jolowicz, Yorkville Historian German Language Learning Club 16

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friends of the upper east side

teaching the neighborhood’s next Generation of preservationists By Laura Shin

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ew York City’s youngest residents are learning to be architects. Upper East Side and East Harlem elementary students are weaving words like “cornice” and “pediment” into their everyday vocabulary through the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts’ “Building Fun” program. “Growing up in New York City, I think it’s important for the kids to understand their surroundings,” said Sarah O’Keefe, education director for FRIENDS. “After we teach the program, it really opens their eyes about their built environment.” “Building Fun” is broken up into three components. First, students learn vocabulary in the classroom. Second, they are taken on a walking tour where they learn about different buildings and see examples of the vocabulary they have learned. Finally, they design their own buildings. “We try to make it fun for the kids by asking them, ‘If the building could talk, what would it tell you about itself?’”

O u r To w n NY. c o m

O’Keefe said. “‘What is it made of?’ ‘How old is it?’ ‘What was it used for?’” Each walking tour is customized for the class so students can learn about the buildings in the areas surrounding their schools. O’Keefe said they scout the areas so the tours will be as relevant as possible for the students. “It’s really great for our social studies curriculum because we study New York City and how it has changed over time and different features that make New York unique,” said Pamela Horowitz, a 2nd grade teacher at P.S. 59 on the Upper East Side. She has participated in the “Building Fun” program four times. “A lot of the kids live in the neighborhood, and the program makes them more aware of their surroundings,” she said. “After that trip, whenever we go out, they

always point out things they see, so it really sticks with them.” The architecture program was established in 1995. Since then, FRIENDS has added other educational programming, such as “Yorkville Immigration,” which teaches students about the German and Hungarian immigration histories of the neighborhood. “We recognized that there was an opportunity to create a new offering because of the rich Yorkville history,” said O’Keefe, who has been with FRIENDS for five years. In the classroom, students learn about what it was like for immigrants to build their communities. Next, the students go on a walking tour of the areas where these communities once existed. Lastly, the students participate in an Ellis Island simulation in their classroom, where they play the part of immigrants coming to the United States. In 2011, FRIENDS’ education pro-

grams reached more than 1,000 students. The programs are offered to classes in both public and private schools on the Upper East Side and in East Harlem. In addition to “Building Fun” and “Yorkville Immigration,” FRIENDS is now also offering a “Preservation & Landmarks” lesson where students learn about the importance of landmarks and participate in a mock Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing. “We try to get them to think about their favorite buildings and how they would feel if they weren’t there or if they were torn down,” O’Keefe said. “The kids get really emotional.” The landmarks program is offered as a single lesson or can be added on to the other programs. O’Keefe said she hopes to turn it into a three-part program sometime in the future. “I love teaching these programs because it really changes the vision of our students and opens their eyes to the history and fabric of their architectural surroundings,” she said.

March 29, 2012

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Congratulations to Friends From a Friend Congratulations Friends Upper East Side Historic Districts for 30 years of perseverance and leadership in Historic Preservation and Cheers to all the OTTY Winners

18•

CIVITAS

2nd-3rd E. 80 Block Association, Inc

EIS Housing Resource Center

Gracie Point Community Council

City and Suburban York Avenue Estate

Sane Trash Solutions

City and Suburban First Avenue Estate Tenants

East 79th Street Neighborhood Association

OUR TOWN

•

March 29, 2012

NEWS YOU LIVE BY


2012 OTTY AWARDS

Our Town Thanks You

F

or 20 years, Carolyn Maloney has been leading the fight in Congress on national issues like women’s rights, but she has also kept the focus on her East Side district as a strong advocate for the Second Avenue Subway, new schools and health care for workers and residents suffering from the environmental fallout of 9/11. She is Our Town’s East Sider of the Year in our annual OTTY Awards special section. The Our Town Thanks You, or OTTY, Awards go to people who make the Upper East Side a better place to live and work. This year’s group of 20 includes a hero by any definition, a fire lieutenant who carried an elderly woman out of a burning building. A trio working to improve schools state- and citywide, Matthew Goldstein, Merryl Tisch and Jennifer Raab, are our honorees in the Educator category. Our Cultural Club OTTYs go to leaders of two of the neighborhood’s most distinguished institutions, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Japan Society. Other honorees include a former homeless man who regularly volunteers overnight at a shelter that helped turn his life around and a resident leading the fight to save a local playground from development. —Tom Allon, President and CEO

—Josh Rogers, Our Town contributing editor

Our Town Thanks You

EAST SIDERS OF THE YEAR

Thursday, March 29th, 2012 Cocktail Reception: 6:30 PM Awards Ceremony: 7:15 PM Hosted by: Harold Holzer SPONSORED BY:

2012 OTTY Award

The Turtle Bay Association

Congratulations to

Constance Peterson Director, Patient Services Administration Emergency Department

Thank you for all that you do!

thanks and Congratulates Congresswoman CAROLYN B. MALONEY FOR HER MANY YEARS OF VALUABLE WORK TO BETTER THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK

Turtle Bay Association 224 E 47th Street, NY 10017 212 751 5465 turtlebay-nyc.org O u r To w n NY. c o m OTTYad3.indd 1

March 29, 2012 3/21/12 4:38 PM

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2012 OTTY AWARDS

Where’s This Woman? Fighting for the Upper East Side By Megan Bungeroth

S

EAST SIDER OF THE YEAR in federal funding a year to process DNA evidence in sexual assault cases, and as a reliably unyielding proponent of women’s rights on the national stage. Maloney has proven she can walk the walk (often in heels) and talk the talk (often with wry jabs at right-wingers and the few political opponents who have challenged her). In her almost 20 years as a congresswoman, she has also been able to strike an impressive balance between advocating for national issues and supporting local ones. One of her signature measures has been fighting to get federal transit dollars pumped into the overcrowded East Side public transportation system. “I am very proud of finally finishing the Second Avenue Subway,” Maloney said in reference to funding the first phase. “For those of us who ride the good old Lexington Avenue line, one of the most overcrowded in the nation, there really is a limit to how many people you can stuff into that subway car.” Over the years, she’s helped secure

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March 29, 2012

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

ome politicians get themselves noticed for the things they say. Others work quietly, hoping to gain attention for the things they do. The rare breed of national legislator is able to land in the spotlight both for their pithy turns of phrase and for their hardwon accomplishments. Rep. Carolyn Maloney is that kind of lawmaker. The Upper East Side congresswoman has been enjoying national attention lately for her mantra “Where are the women?” a non-rhetorical question posed first to fellow Rep. Darrell Issa when a panel he chaired on religious freedom and birth control was devoid of female speakers and subsequently to every media outlet that would listen as a general indictment of Republican-led policy that seeks to legislate women’s rights. It’s a catchy and of-the-moment question, but it’s one that Maloney has been asking for decades, as a chief sponsor and continual champion of the Equal Rights Amendment, as the author of the Debbie Smith Act, which allocates $151 million

$4 billion in federal funds for the project, which has generated approximately 38,000 jobs, and she said that when she first began pushing for it, she faced an uphill battle. “I got $5 million to do a study and then another $5 million for an engineer’s report, and then I just kept pushing it,” Maloney said. “Then we finally broke through, and every day I worked on it.” She said one of the efforts of which she is most proud is her work on the Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Reform Act, the law that changed the structure of the intelligence system in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and on the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. “I think it’s an example of how this government can really get things done when we’re determined to get things done. We completely reorganized our government and made homeland security our No. 1 top priority,” Maloney said. She also isn’t shy about insisting that New York deserves the lion’s share of anti-terrorism funding. Maloney, originally from North Carolina, got her first taste of community leadership when she became president of the 92nd Street Block Association, representing the street she has lived on since 1976. In 1982, she was elected to the City Council and in 1992, she ran for Congress, shocking many by ousting incumbent Republican Bill Green and becoming the first woman to represent the 14th District. She’s been re-elected nine times and recently kicked off her 10th re-election campaign, this time for the renamed and redrawn 12th District, encompassing parts of north Brooklyn (which she used to represent) as well as the Upper East Side and eastern Queens. Maloney doesn’t bat an eyelash at the potential challenges inherent in representing both Williamsburg and Park Avenue. “I have to study the area and work with the other elected officials, and my work is really a result of what the needs are,” Maloney said of her 100,000 potential new constituents. “When I represented that area, they had an incinerator and I called for the first federal hearing on the incinerator and literally closed it down, so that was a major environmental victory.” Recently named Public Official of the Year by Earth Day New York and the New York office of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Maloney doesn’t back

Rep. Carolyn Maloney said, “We do send more in tax revenue than what comes back, and it’s my job to try to get every penny of it.” away from issues she sees as vital for the environment. She’s currently embroiled in battling against the Marine Transfer Station planned for East 91st Street, citing concerns for the East River as well as about public health conditions in the surrounding neighborhood. “Sometimes it’s not what you do, it’s what you stop. When they tried to close the veteran’s hospital on 23rd Street, that became a goal and a passion of mine to keep it open,” Maloney said—and she succeeded. She also successfully lobbied against the closure of several post offices in her district. She’s been heavily involved in creating new schools for the Upper East Side, working to form the East Side Task Force on education that led to the formation of several local schools. “I can remember meetings where I said, if you can’t give us a school, I’m going to have to open up my home and move the kids in, because we really need it,” Maloney said. Maloney lives near her office on East 92nd Street, a fact she said she relishes because she loves that part of the Upper East Side. She spends as much time in the neighborhood as she can. She has two daughters, Virginia and Christine, with her late husband Clifton Maloney, a wealthy investment banker who died in 2009 pursuing one of his pas-

sions, mountain climbing, in Tibet. Now that her children are out of the house, she focuses even more on her career—though she admits she takes time for gardening and is even planning to get back on a bicycle this spring to promote new bike lanes—and seems undaunted by the premise of a three-borough campaign in a contentious election year. She credits her staff for helping her maintain a local focus. “One of the reasons I ran for office was that after 12 years of Bush and Reagan, federal aid to the city was cut by 74 percent,” she said. “It got so that we could hardly do anything. You could see the importance of the federal government for doing anything local, particularly big projects such as housing, transportation, major investments… “To this day, we do send more in tax revenue than what comes back, and it’s my job to try to get every penny of it,” she said. The hundreds of commendations lining the walls of her office and her obvious pride in her work clearly speak to the seriousness with which she takes her job in Congress, but Maloney admits that she relishes creating legislation and finds it, well, fun. “It’s sort of like a game to me,” she said, explaining how she can introduce so many bills (70 in the last full session, tying for the most from any representative). “There’s a problem and I just sit in front of a fire or a pretty view and I think of a legislative fix.” n

N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


Please join us for our April Meeting of

the 19th Pct Community Council

Congresswoman

Carolyn Maloney

Monday, April 2nd 7:00 PM

Congratulations to all the OTTY Award Winners!

Speaker: Lolita Jackson Director of Special Project/Community Affairs Mayor’s Office City of New York Located at The 19th Precinct, 3rd FL - 153 East 67th St

Maureen R. Connelly, Martin J. McLaughlin & Michael Woloz Providing Expertise in a Wide Range of Services Refreshments courtesy of Butterfield Market To be added to our email list please email us at: The19PCTCouncil@aol.com

For further information call 19th Community 1F_BurnCenter10x5.541AD_Layout 1 3/19/12Affairs: 9:37 AM 212-452-0613 Page 1

• Government Relations

• Press Relations

• Community Relations

64 Fulton St., Suite 1105, New York, NY 10038 (212) 437-7373 • Fax: (212) 437-7378

Chag Sameach The William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, the FDNY Foundation, and the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation wish you much joy and health during Passover and in the year to come. The activity and excitement of getting ready for and celebrating the holidays tend to make people less careful when they should be more cautious. During these times, there is more hot food, hot water, and candle use in the house. Often there are guests in the home, including children. Dr. Roger Yurt, Director, of the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, the FDNY Foundation, and the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation urge you to take care to prevent burn injuries all of the time, and offer these special safety tips for the holiday season: • Never leave burning candles unattended. Use candles that burn long When searching for and burning Chametz: enough to fulfill the mitzvah but are short enough to be able to burn • Keep the candle away from all flammable objects, especially curtains, sofas, themselves out before leaving the home or going to bed. clothing, and tablecloths. • Store matches and lighters out of the reach of children. • Supervise young children and keep them at least 4 feet from open flames. Do not allow young children to hold the candle. When preparing for the Seder: • Create a 3-foot zone of safety around the stove and anywhere that hot food or Lighting, Blessing, and Using Candles: water may be warming to prevent children from coming too close to the stove • Place candles: or other kitchen appliances that contain hot food or water. – In sturdy holders or other fire-safe containers and on a solid surface • Turn pot handles inward and use the back burners when cooking on the stove. – Out of the reach of children and pets – At least 4 feet from curtains, bedding, paper, chemicals, and aerosol sprays • Allow hot food and drinks to cool before carrying, serving, eating, or drinking. • Keep the stove top clear of paper, towels, and anything else that can burn. • Wear tight fitting, long sleeved attire when near the open flame. • Keep long hair tied back and away from lit candles. William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center 525 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10065 nyp.org/services/burn-center

The FDNY Foundation (718) 999–0779 www.fdnyfoundation.org

Main Office/Appointments (212) 746–5410

Burn Outreach/Education (212) 746–5417

The New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation (718) 379–1900 www.nyffburncenter.org

This information is brief and general. It should not be the only source of your information on this health care topic. It is not to be used or relied on for diagnosis or treatment. It does not take the place of instructions from your doctor. Talk to your health care providers before making a health care decision. O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

March 29, 2012

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2012 OTTY AWARDS

Rescued Woman from a Burning Building By Joanna Fantozzi

description. “You’re going into someone’s worst nightmare and you try to do your best,” said Rigoli. “Just going in to put out a fire—when you come out, you feel like you want to beat your chest.” Rigoli has been a firefighter for 12 years, working in the South Bronx before he came to the East 67th Street firehouse four years ago. Firefighting is

L

BRAVEST AND FINEST in his blood; he grew up chasing after fire trucks and watching his father and brother in the profession. Today, many of Rigoli’s reports admire his work ethic and bravery. “It doesn’t surprise me that he rescued her,” said fellow firefighter and former OTTY award winner Kenny Ruane. “He’s a boss, but he has the mentality of a fireman. He always wants to make himself and all of us better.” Before he started putting out fires,

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

ast summer, Lt. Jason Rigoli and his fellow firefighters at Engine 39 and Ladder 16 fought a fierce blaze in a fourth-floor apartment on Park Avenue. For Rigoli, the best part of the night was that the elderly woman he rescued and carried out of the building survived. On July 23, 2011, in the middle of the night, Engine 39 got a call about a fire. When they arrived, Rigoli, 42, was supposed to be on engine duty, staying behind with the hoses. But because of the large size of the apartment, Rigoli ran into the building to help his fellow firefighters find any victims. Rigoli soon found Janise Bogard, 81, lying under a table in the living room, caught in some debris. Working fast, he lifted Bogard and carried her through the smoky apartment to the paramedics, ultimately saving her life. By most definitions, Rigoli’s efforts make him a hero. But Rigoli said he and his fellow firefighters do this all the time and that rescues are a part of the job

Rigoli earned a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and worked as a professional chef. He was a cook and pastry chef and eventually owned his own restaurant in Massapequa called Opal Basil. After working in the culinary world for several years, Rigoli became a firefighter in 2000 and found his passion with the New York Fire Department. However, he stays in touch with his culinary side and still cooks for the firehouse on occasion. Some of his signature dishes include spicy Thai chicken and stuffed pork loin, and he took second place in a 9/11 charity cook-off event called September Space that pitted firefighters against New York City chefs. The rest of Rigoli’s life is devoted to his family. He lives in Lindenhurst, Long Island, with his wife Kim and his five children and he helps out with his sons’ baseball teams as an assistant coach. Rigoli emphasized that even for smaller emergencies like a stuck elevator or a gas leak, the Upper East Side’s firefighters are always contributing to the

Lt. Jason Rigoli carried an elderly woman out of her apartment last summer. neighborhood. “It’s not just me—it’s every firehouse in the area,” said Rigoli. “We’re there for the community every time of the day.” n

Officer Who Knows the Community Well

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

Chris Helms has spent his career in the 19th Precinct but he also helped in the World Trade Center recovery effort. By Alan Krawitz

I

t may sound clichéd, but Chris Helms, a community affairs officer with the 19th Precinct, became a police officer in 1994 for all the right reasons.

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“Before joining the NYPD, I was working in a restaurant waiting tables and bartending while I was going to college,” Helms recalled. “I decided to become a police officer because I like helping people.” Helms said his parents taught him to be a good person and to always “do the right thing.” Growing up in Sloatsburg in Rockland County, Helms said that being a police officer looked exciting as a career option. “The hustle and bustle, going from place to place while protecting the citizens of New York, meeting people, talking to people—those were things I liked to do,” Helms explained. “I just couldn’t see myself sitting behind a desk or having to stay in one place for too long,” he said. At age 44, Helms, who has spent his entire police career with the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side, has done anything but sit behind a desk. “My typical day is always different; every day our precinct is affected by things that happen all over the world,” he said, explaining that he frequently gets involved in preparations for various visits from dignitaries including President

Barack Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, other world leaders and celebrities. “As a community affairs officer, you have to plan for many large-scale events such as parades, street fairs, demonstrations and generally taking care of the community within the precinct’s borders,” he said. Prior to being assigned to community affairs in 2007, Helms worked in various units, including community policing, where he tackled quality of life issues including street narcotics, prostitution,

BRAVEST AND FINEST unlicensed vendors, panhandlers and the homeless. While Helms says he’s had many “good arrests” in his career, nothing compares to his time helping out at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of 9/11. “I was working and trying to help out at ground zero for the months after the attacks,” he said. “It was probably the most memorable time in my career…

nothing comes close to dealing with what happened down there.” Asked if he’s seen the city’s quality of life improve over the years, Helms said he sees a big difference from when he first joined the force nearly 18 years ago. “The quality of life has definitely improved in the city,” he said. “There are less homeless on the street and fewer quality of life crimes throughout our precinct.” Latha Thompson, district manager for Community Board 8 in Manhattan, has nothing but praise for Helms. “Chris is an outstanding police officer who is always willing to help the community any way he can,” Thompson said. In his downtime, Helms, who is also an avid golfer, enjoys spending time at home with his wife of 9 years, his son Ryan, 8, and daughter Katelyn, 6. He said he gets along with almost everyone he meets in the community and added it is a special place because it is home to some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world as well as everyday working folks. “There is no place in the world like the Upper East Side,” Helms said. n N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


...salutes ...salutes the 2012 OTTY AWARDS the 2012 OTTY AWARDS CELEBRATION CELEBRATION The Museum for African Art is proud ANDAND THETHE “EAST SIDERS OF THE YEAR” to celebrate the 2012 OTTY Awards “EAST SIDERS OF THE YEAR” Our thanks do in making a difference Our thanks for all for youall doyou in making a difference in our community. in our community.

east sixties neighborhood association, inc. east sixties neighborhood association, inc. 1173A Second#110, Avenue, York, NY 212 713-5826 1173A Second Avenue, New#110, York,New NY 10065 21210065 713-5826 www.esna-nyc.com www.esna-nyc.com

honorees for their contributions to the East Side community. Follow the Museum online: www.africanart.org facebook.com/museumforafricanart twitter.com/africanart

CONGRATULATES      

ELAINE  WALSH  

WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS DOING THIS SUMMER?

 

Peter  Walsh        Tess  O’Connor      David  Hunt   Coogan’s  Restaurant,  4015  Broadway  @  169th  St.,  NY,  NY  10032   Tel:  (212)  928-­‐1234   WWW.COOGANS.COM  

Catering  with  a  Special  Touch

SATURDAY, MAR 31, 2012 Upper East Side St. Jean Baptiste School 173 E. 75th St. 12PM - 3PM

SUNDAY, APR 1, 2012 Upper West Side Congregation Rodeph Sholom 7 W. 83rd St. 12PM - 3PM

New Site. New Content. Newly relevant.

NewYorkFamilyCamps.com O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

March 29, 2012

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2012 OTTY AWARDS

Neighborhood Girl Now Runs The Met By Paulette Safdieh

Rafferty attended grade school at the Convent of the Sacred Heart on East 91st Street, where she later served on the board for 15 years, four of those as chairwoman. While there, she fundraised and worked with city agencies to have the building’s façade restored. She attended high school at the Chapin School on East 84th Street and graduated from Boston

V

isitors come to the Upper East Side from all over the world for a bite to eat at Serendipity 3 or a carriage ride through Central Park, but most of all to spend some time visiting Museum Mile. Our famed museums along 5th Avenue keep our neighborhood bustling with culture and give our children some of the greatest educational opportunities outside of the classroom. Our biggest museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, dates back to 1866. Current president and OTTY Award winner Emily Rafferty makes sure The Met continues to thrive and contribute to our community. Raised on Park Avenue, Rafferty, 63, developed a love for The Met at a young age. “I would roller skate by it on my way home and it was a part of my life to come to the museum,” said Rafferty. “I remember going to The Cloisters for the first time and being overwhelmed by its beauty. It was part of my neighborhood and I definitely embraced it.”

CULTURE CLUB University in 1971. During her college years in Massachusetts, she returned for a summer to work at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. She moved back to Manhattan for good in 1975. “I’ve been very involved in the community,” said Rafferty. “My siblings and I are all very, very tied to the neighborhood.” Rafferty started working at The Met at just 25 years old as an assistant director in the development office. Museum executives noticed her hard work and knack for fundraising and she continued to gain responsibilities. She became

the first female vice president of the museum in 1984 and became president 20 years later. She now manages the over 2,000 employees and volunteers who serve 5.6 million annual visitors and take care of 2 million pieces of artwork. “The greatest challenges are just the scope of what goes on at the museum on a day-to-day basis—everything from activities to visitors and what happens beyond the walls of The Met,” Rafferty said about her job. “It’s establishing priorities and making sure that problems get solved.” Beyond her work at The Met, Rafferty chairs NYC & Company, the city’s tourism office, and serves as a member of the board of directors of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. To get some breathing space, Rafferty walks through Central Park each morning to get to the museum from her West 77th Street apartment, where she lives with husband of 25 years, John Rafferty, a partner at Ernst & Young. Since she moved from the Upper East Side over 20 years ago, Rafferty said the area has changed greatly with regard to its popularity and increased tourism industry. However, she said that the same

Emily Rafferty used to roller skate by The Metropolitan Museum, where she is now president. core values of family and community from her childhood still characterize the neighborhood. “There were a lot of very qualified people nominated for this award and I feel honored to receive it,” said Rafferty. “I don’t quite know why I emerged out of everyone else.” n

A First for Japan Society: A Japanese Leader

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

The Japan Society raised $12.5 million for earthquake relief under Motoatsu Sakurai’s leadership. By Laura Shin

J

ust two days after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Japan Society in New York had raised $350,000 in relief funds. A year later, it has raised $12.5 million. As a cultural institution, fundraising isn’t

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one of the Japan Society’s primary functions. But Motoatsu Sakurai, president of the Society, made it a top priority after the disaster struck his home country last year. “We are determined to help Japan as much as possible,” he said. “With the magnitude of this disaster, you need at least 10 years to see recovery. So when it comes to money for Japan, we want to keep our door open.” The Japan Society’s relief fund for the Great East Japan Earthquake is the sixth largest in the United States. The Red Cross’ is the largest. “I saw how hard he was working with the businesses here to raise funds,” said Matthew Bauer, president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District, who nominated Sakurai for an OTTY and won one himself. “It was such a horrible disaster. It was great that New Yorkers could do their part and he really led that effort in a big way.” Sakurai was named president of Japan Society in 2009. He was formerly CEO of Mitsubishi International Corporation. In 2006, he became the first business executive to serve as ambassador and consul general of Japan in New York.

After 40 years in the private sector then serving as ambassador, Sakurai said he is pleased to have had a chance to work in different fields and ultimately transition into the nonprofit sector. “The purposes in the three sectors are different,” said Sakurai, 67. “In the private sector, you have to make money. In government, you have to think about the national

CULTURE CLUB interest, and in an NGO, my definition of purpose is to think about the people.” Japan Society was established in 1907 with a mission to bring “the people of Japan and the United States closer together though mutual understanding, appreciation and cooperation.” The Society is home to an art gallery, a performing arts program, a film program, a lecture program, an education program, a library and a language center that offers Japanese language courses. Sakurai is the first Japanese person to lead Japan Society.

“They wanted to change the mood. They were interested in having a Japanese person, so I said, ‘Why not?’” Sakurai’s extensive career as a businessman also prepared him for the job. He became president at a challenging time, he said; the organization’s endowment was depleted and he had to find ways to reduce costs and enhance revenue. As of last year, they were able to break even. Sakurai said the donations coming in for earthquake relief have declined significantly. He hopes to continue to raise money for the victims of the disaster. Japan Society has distributed $7.2 million of its funds to 19 different organizations that directly serve the people affected by the earthquake. “We are very appreciative of the American people helping out the Japanese,” he said. Even though he is from Japan, Sakurai said his favorite part of his job is learning new things about Japanese culture. When he is not working, Sakurai said he enjoys playing golf. He came to the United States in 2000 and currently lives on the Upper East Side. He is married and has two daughters who live and work in the United States. n N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


CONGRATULATIONS TO Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts on its

30th Anniversary A great organization devoted to protecting & preserving Historic Sites in our city

I am proud to have been a member since its inception.

Joyce Matz

The East 86th Street Association congratulates Board President Elaine M. Walsh on receiving the OTTY Award for her tireless work on behalf of our community. She has helped to reshape the streetscape, foster connections among businesses, residents, and city officials, improve safety, and support businesses. We are inspired by her leadership.

The Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, Inc.

Congratulates U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney on receiving the 2012 “OTTY” Award 415 East 93rd Street, New York NY 10128

Congratulates Congratulates all Congresswoman “East Sider of the Year” Carolyn Maloney and all East Sider of the Year Award winners! Award winners! 1375 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10018 (212) 479-7772 F: (212) 473-8074 www.manhattancc.org info@manhattancc.org

Manhattan Chamber of Commerce … We Mean Business O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

The Gallagher Initiative of the Fund for the Advancement of Social Services

Congratulates Dr. Elaine M. Walsh

for receiving the OTTY Award The co-founder and director of the Gallagher Initiative, a needs assessment of aging Irish immigrants in New York City, Elaine is engaged in many leadership roles in the community and directs the Public Service Scholar program at Hunter College. We are very proud of all she contributes to the City. Gallagher.Initiative@gmail.com • 917-575-7158 March 29, 2012

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2012 OTTY AWARDS

Hunter Preserving, Building and Educating Under Raab By Ellen Keohane

start, her priority has been to raise the academic profile of the college while maintaining our richly diverse student body, and in this she has succeeded brilliantly.” Since her appointment more than 10 years ago, Raab, 55, said she has seen SAT scores of entering students increase alongside the school’s U.S. News and World Report ranking. “We’re very proud in general of the rising standards,” she said.

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unter College’s Latin motto, Mihi Cura Futuri, translates to “The care of the future is mine.” Jennifer Raab, the college’s president since 2001, said she takes these words very seriously. “We’re a public college committed to supporting the future of the city,” Raab said. Most Hunter students are from the city or tend to stay here after graduation, she said. Raab said Hunter is filling an important need. “Private education is really pricing itself out of the range of most average New Yorkers and Americans,” she said. As president of Hunter College, the largest college in the CUNY system, Raab also administers Hunter College Elementary School, Hunter College High School and Manhattan Hunter Science High School. “Jennifer has a passionate belief in the transformative potential of quality public education,” Vita Rabinowitz, Hunter College’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, said via email. “From the

EDUCATOR One important milestone has been the opening of the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. “We have over 50 doctoral students in our new school,” Raab said. Accredited in 2011, the new School of Public Health shares space with the Hunter College School of Social Work in a newly constructed building in East Harlem. Another accomplishment has been the restoration of the Roosevelt House, a double townhouse on East 65th Street.

The house was a wedding gift from Sara Delano Roosevelt to her son Franklin and his wife, Eleanor. Hunter College had owned the townhouse since 1941 but it had fallen into disrepair. “We were able to obtain the funding and have them totally renovated according to historic standards; now they are the home of a flourishing public policy institute,” said Raab, who previously ran the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. A graduate of Hunter College High School, Raab earned her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She also has a degree from Harvard Law School. Originally from Washington Heights, Raab now lives in the Bronx with her husband, Michael Goodwin, a columnist for the New York Post. Their daughter Miranda graduated from Bronx High School of Science last year and is now a freshman at Duke University. Raab’s stepson Scott and his wife, Jennifer, live in Manhattan.

Jennifer College.

Raab,

president

of

Hunter

Before her stint at the Landmarks Commission from 1994 to 2001, Raab worked as an urban planner, campaign manager and corporate lawyer. Raab said her 10 years as a litigator prepared her to be the “ultimate advocate and cheerleader” for the college. As a litigator, you have to advocate for your client, she explained. Indeed, when talking about the school, Raab’s enthusiasm is impossible to ignore. “Hunter is a place where every day we get to see the American dream come true,” she said. n

Fighting for Better Education for City Children

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

Merryl Tisch is the Board of Regents chancellor. By Channon Hodge

B

oard of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch has been in office a little over two years and has already been called blunt by her critics. In December, the New York Times’ Fernanda Santos

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implied her brash public comments may have something to do with rumors that she might run for mayor. Tisch does not respond to these rumors. Tisch’s outspoken nature has put the Board of Regents in the spotlight more now than in the time of any of her predecessors. The former 1st-grade teacher, perhaps inadvertently, uses it to her advantage to shout out the city’s inadequacies and bring the focus back inside the classroom. Tisch’s first goal when she took office in 2009 was to capitalize on the public fervor for improvement that was reignited by national reforms. “We wanted to use a moment in time when education reform was such a large part of the public dialogue and public awareness,” said Tisch, “to use our authority to create a space in which we could be part of the large national reform agenda for New York State.” Part of that national reform agenda, Race to the Top, pledged $700 million in federal funding to ailing New York schools in 2010. That money could help Tisch with her own reforms, but dispersing it requires compromise over teacher

evaluations. That fight is pitting teacher against city and city against state. The Board of Regents has already claimed a victory, changing teacher evaluations to include a heavier reliance on student test scores. That riled the teachers. Tisch says anxiety around evaluations could be relieved if people looked past the headlines at the state’s intentions. “What we are proposing is not to evaluate teachers simply on student test data but rather to have 60 out of 100 points be what goes on in the classroom between teachers and stu-

EDUCATOR dents, between teachers and mentors, between teachers and principals,” said Tisch. Other Regents victories include a rise in the cap on charter schools and a halt on teachers correcting their own students’ assessment tests. Last week, Tisch and the state announced they’ll soon create a

Test Security Unit to monitor the integrity of test scoring. While Tisch has criticized the quality of testing in the city, she believes in the power of data. Her most ambitious plan is to create a data network that can follow a student or a teacher’s performance across the state over the course of their entire career. She argues that connecting the entire educational network would lead to more insight into policy improvements. Tisch’s own passion for wrangling policy began after she left teaching. “I spent a lot of years after teaching in the social service network,” said Tisch of her time working in poverty programs. “So much of education policy, particularly in the K-12 arena, is an intersection of those two worlds.” Tisch attended Barnard and NYU and completed a doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University. She says little about her personal life, but belongs to an established New York philanthropic family who donated $15 million to WNET in 2010. “I’m a New Yorker—born, bred, raised and educated here,” she said. n N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


The Lenox Hill Democratic Club

Proudly Honors

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as EastSider of the Year The Lenox Hill Democratic Club – the 65th Assembly District, Part A Cherokee Station – PO Box 20431, New York, NY 10021 (646) 543-2065 www.lenoxhilldems.org lenoxhilldc@gmail.com

Get Involved in Democratic Politics

Help Get President Barrack Obama, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and other Democratic candidates elected this Fall Help Us to Petition and Campaign – Join the Lenox Hill Democratic Club

Beth Israel Medical Center Congratulates Our Colleague

Mary Cahill Nursing Coordinator Appel-Venet Comprehensive Breast Service Continuum Cancer Centers of New York

2012 OTTY Award Winner

O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

March 29, 2012

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2012 OTTY AWARDS

Chancellor Goldstein: Reforming Education, One Initiative at a Time By Rachel Stern

University of Connecticut. He returned to CUNY in several positions, among them as a professor and then president of Baruch College and president of The Research Foundation. He began his tenure as chancellor by working to raise the academic standards of CUNY’s 11 senior colleges, moving

A

decade ago, some might argue, the City University of New York (CUNY) appeared very different than it does today. There was no Macaulay Honors College, School of Public Health, School of Professional Studies or graduate journalism program. There were less full-time faculty members and lower academic standards at the four-year colleges. The man credited with helping shift the system, spurring several educational programs and initiatives into action and fundraising over $4 billion, is Dr. Matthew Goldstein, CUNY’s chancellor since 1999. “We’re all here to try to improve the lives of our students and give them options that they can exercise during and after their time studying here,” said Goldstein, the first CUNY graduate to become chancellor of the system. Goldstein studied statistics and mathematics at City College, commuting from Sheepshead Bay and juggling part-time odd jobs. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1963, continuing on to receive a PhD in mathematical statistics from the

EDUCATOR “remedial education” to the six community colleges, he said. “It required raising our academic assessment test to make judgments about whether people are ready for baccalaureate work,” said Goldstein. “And if they were not ready, they would first have to study at a community college and do reasonably well before they could enter a senior college.” Over breakfast with Mayor Michael Bloomberg a few years after his start, Goldstein brought up how he wanted to boost CUNY’s community college graduation rates, which are notoriously low,

“without diluting the curriculum,” he said. Bloomberg then funded the $20 million program Associated Study in Accelerated Programs (ASAP) at all CUNY’s community colleges. Launched in 2007 with small class sizes and required full-time study, ASAP helped 55 percent of its students receive their graduate degree in three years—three times the national urban community college three-year graduation rate of 16 percent. Furthermore, it inspired the creation of The New School, according to Goldstein, CUNY’s latest community college slated to open this fall. A firm believer in math and science education, Goldstein was also behind The Decade of Science, a plan stretching from 2005 to 2015 that is modernizing science facilities, bringing in more faculty, and has created the School of Public Health. “I’m really trying to encourage students who have the aptitude and ability to make contributions that are not only important to themselves but to society,” he said. As a public institution, Goldstein

Matthew Goldstein. says CUNY still needs more funding to boost its diversity of programs and students. He stood behind the latest tuition increases—$300 per year under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tuition plan—calling them “modest” compared to other public universities. “We’ve been keeping tuition at reasonable levels,” he said, “without impairing the abilities of students who come to the university.” n

A Community Builder with an Eye on Madison Avenue

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

Matthew Bauer is president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District. By Laura Shin

F

or Matthew Bauer, president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), creating a sense of community is not only

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an important responsibility, it’s also his favorite part of the job. “It’s a lot of fun to meet the retailers, to work with them and get to know them,” Bauer said. “We have an exciting group of people that run our stores who are really committed. It’s a pleasure to come up with new ideas with them and build the community.” It was that same sense of community that helped Madison Avenue have a strong resurgence after it was challenged by the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009, he said. Bauer said the recession did affect business conditions in the district but that retailers and the BID banded together to come up with new ideas to keep the street strong. One example is an event that was started last year called Watch Week. The second annual Watch Week, organized by Madison Avenue BID and the Wall Street Journal, will take place April 28-May 4. The week consists of a series of activities for watch collectors and connoisseurs as 18 watch brands showcase their new

models. The district has made a strong comeback, Bauer said. Fourteen new stores opened there in the last six months of 2011; in March, Bauer said he saw three new stores open in less than a week. “We’re seeing a lot of new retailers coming here,” he said. “Madison Avenue has an important role in the New York City economy. We have a particular niche in the market and we attract visitors from

COMMUNITY BUILDERS all over the world.” Madison Avenue BID provides supplemental security and sanitation services to the area. It also has a capital improvement program and marketing and promotional programming for the various establishments on Madison Avenue. Bauer, 45, joined the BID in 1999. Previously, he worked with the Lower East Side BID. He’s a native New Yorker

from Brooklyn and now lives in Queens with his family. “He’s a community leader and I think his role has been a pacesetter,” said Barry Schneider, a member of Community Board 8 who nominated Bauer for an OTTY. “He’s forward-thinking, hardworking and dedicated to the interest of the Madison Avenue property owners.” Bauer is also innovative when it comes to charity events, Schneider said, describing Bauer’s role in organizing Miracle on Madison, an event last December that raised funds for the Children’s Aid Society. Other charity events organized by the BID include a gallery walk last May that raised funds for public schools and the Madison Avenue Pink Ribbon Project last October that raised money for local breast cancer charities. Looking ahead, Bauer said his goals include creating new events, particularly in a way that maintains Madison Avenue as a place that attracts visitors from abroad as well as welcomes the residents of the Upper East Side. n N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


THE EAST MIDTOWN PARTNERSHIP

congratulates the “our town t thanks You”

a award winners our Partners in improving the community! 10th Anniversary

2002 – 2012

our Board chair

our colleagues

debra Fechter Digby Management Co. Real Estate

matthew Bauer Madison Avenue BID Community Builder

our Board member

nancy Ploeger Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Community Builder

david Brooks Just Bulbs Entrepreneur

our congressional representative

...and All the Other Honorees!

hon. carolyn B. maloney Eastsider of the Year

For more inFormation contact the east midtown PartnershiP Phone: 212-813-0030

O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

Fax: 212-813-0034

e-mail: info@eastmidtown.org

w web: www.eastmidtown.org

March 29, 2012

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Baseball’s Computer Whiz Goes Out to Save a Playground By Alexander Tucciarone

M

COMMUNITY BUILDERS Fernandez said. “But before we knew it, elected officials were responding to our demands and standing by us.” All of Fernandez’s hard work initially appeared to pay off. He said that in 2010, the firm announced that they would leave the playground alone, but last September the firm said it would clear the park to build a 35-story hospital facility. Because of the volunteer network he built years ago, Fernandez did not have

You are invited to a

TOWN HALL MEETING To learn more about

CORNELL-TECHNION’S HI-TECH CAMPUS Please join Council Member Jessica Lappin, Cornell University President David J. Skorton, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Assembly Member Micah Kellner, and others for a presentation and discussion on the applied sciences and engineering school that is coming to Roosevelt Island.

Thursday, April 5th at 6:30 p.m. Manhattan Park Community Center 8 River Road, Roosevelt Island

to start from square one this time around. With the support he helped build for the park, he has been able to hire attorneys to halt the construction. Even City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has come out in support of the playground and is calling for a full public review of Related’s proposal. What began for Fernandez as an effort to protect his son has evolved into a broader commitment to defending neighborhood parks and playgrounds. This work has also put him in touch with longtime defenders of green spaces in the city. Geoffrey Croft, partner at New York City Park Advocates, lives in the same building as Fernandez. They knew each other as neighbors before finding a common cause in saving their neighborhood playground. “One of the things that stands out about Oscar is his passion and commitment to detail,” Croft said. “He is undaunted by obstacles and fights for people without a voice in the political process.”

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

any community leaders become involved in philanthropy out of a general desire to help other people. For Oscar Fernandez, it was something more personal. Fernandez, the IT director in the office of Major League Baseball, founded the group Save Ruppert Playground in 2008 when real estate developer The Related Companies wanted to replace his 2-yearold son’s favorite park. Related’s proposal would have replaced the Upper East Side park with a 49-story story building on East 93rd Street. Through his leadership, the group was able to keep the playground open. But now that Related wants to build again, his fight continues. “I freaked out and wanted to know, what’s going on here?” Fernandez said. “The idea that my son was going to have his life disrupted and lose all his friends— it started a burning fire in me.” Community activism was new to

Fernandez, but before long he was leading a team of 10 volunteers. The group held phone banks, wrote letters to elected officials and held several rallies and town hall meetings to keep Ruppert Playground open. “I’m a tech guy by trade and this was something I had never done before,”

Oscar Fernandez. Croft founded New York City Park Advocates in 2003 because he felt that the push for green spaces in the city simply didn’t exist. He was so impressed by Fernandez’s efforts for Ruppert Playground that he brought his neighbor on as a board member. “If we had five Oscar Fernandezes, the city would be a much better place,” Croft said. n

MORRISON & FOERSTER IS PROUD TO SUPPORT Mr. Motoatsu Sakurai of the Japan Society for his contribution to culture in the community. Congratulations on your OTTY award.

©2012 Morrison & Foerster LLP | mofo.com

Manhattan Media Congratulates all of this year’s OTTY winners.

For information contact Council Member Lappin’s office at (212) 980-1808 or (212) 788-6865.

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President Jennifer J. Raab

Insertion date:

Congratulations to Our Congresswoman

Carolyn Maloney

and the entire Hunter College community

an outstanding public servant,

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney

MArch 29

for her outstanding achievements on the East Side and in Washington

congratulate

4.9 x 5.54

on her “Our Town Thanks You” Award for Eastsider of the Year.

We salute her dedication to the principles

Photo: Brooks Walker.

our city, our neighborhood and Hunter College.

4c nEwS

of public education and her tireless support of our state,

www.hunter.cuny.edu Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.

metmuseum.org

Met Council and our Board of Directors & Staff congratulates our long time member and supporter MET-0097-OurTown_4.9x5.54_Mar29_v3.indd 1

3/26/12 4:49 PM

Board Co-Chair Dr. Merryl H. Tisch, Chancellor, New York State Board of Regents on being awarded the prestigious

Our Town Thanks You (OTTY) Award.

Met Council is one of New York’s largest human services agencies, providing 100,000 New Yorkers with critical services in their fight against poverty every year. Since 1972, Met Council has been an advocate and defender for New Yorkers in need. Visit www.metcouncil.org to learn how our programs help individuals find lasting solutions to poverty. O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

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Helping the Small Business Heart Beat Strong By Dan Rosenblum

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COMMUNITY BUILDERS nesses grow and working with governmental and international partners. At the Chamber, Ploeger also reaches out to other women, the LGBT community and young entrepreneurs. “We run around trying to keep the plate spinning with all of these initiatives,” she said. The Chamber also sponsors a community benefit fund that raises money for organizations on the Upper East Side. Ploeger came to New York after graduating from Monmouth University without a clear-cut plan. She worked at Federated

Department Stores (now Macy’s) and for more than a decade at TSI, which owns New York Sports Clubs. In 1994, she became executive director of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, growing its membership from 250 to more than 2,000. That St. Louis upbringing helped her understand the faces behind small businesses. Ploeger said her favorite part of the job is getting emails from local business owners thanking her for the chance to network or for business discounts. “I’m from St. Louis,” she said. “We’re all about people.” For someone so connected to the growth of the nation’s largest business center, Ploeger said she finds joy in going upstate on weekends to feed deer, walk in the woods and ride horses. “I really am a country girl,” she said. A fan of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts at economic development, she doesn’t know what to expect from a new mayor in 2014. “I just hope that our economy is on the roll again,” she said. Ploeger said the High Line, Hudson

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ancy Ploeger is working on one of her biggest challenges yet. Over the past few years, the building of the Second Avenue Subway, one of the largest construction projects in the country, has put retail businesses behind barricades and meant ever-changing work along the corridor. As the director of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Ploeger is helping those 400 affected businesses build a community and find a voice. “It's very hard for an individual business to do their marketing and media,” she said. For Ploeger, 62, helping businesses stick out began early in her teens. She dropped ping-pong balls out of a helicopter and handed out cherry pies dressed at Martha Washington to help her father, who worked for Sears. As an Upper East Sider, Ploeger walks through the construction every day and sees the walkways that obscure stores and make it hard for elderly people or stroller-wielding parents to navigate. Besides its social media efforts,

the Chamber has organized a restaurant week, art projects and other ways for affected stores and restaurants to attract shoppers and diners. Dealing with the subway is only part of the Chamber’s work. In fact, in the country’s largest business center, the Chamber is one of only a few helping small busi-

Nancy Ploeger, a St. Louis native, has headed the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce since 1994. Yards and the East River Ferry Service are only a few of the exciting projects in which the Chamber is trying to help local small business owners. “Every day is exciting, different and new,” she said. n

A Light that Shines on 86th Street

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

Elaine Walsh. By Paulette Safdieh

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pper East Sider Elaine Walsh remembers the East 86th Street corridor when trains chugged along the Third Avenue El, long before 2nd Avenue Subway construction began.

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Born and raised on 86th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues, Walsh committed herself to giving back to the neighborhood from a young age. Today, Walsh co-chairs Community Board 8’s Zoning and Development Committee and runs the East 86th Street Association. Her years of dedication and active involvement within the community earned Walsh an OTTY Award this year. “I enjoy being involved and I like to see social change—luckily, I’ve seen that happen,” said Walsh. “It’s a good way to live.” Walsh, 67, remembers her mother being involved in community affairs and school events, an attitude that influenced Walsh as a teenager. She led the student body at St. Vincent Ferrer High School on East 65th Street and was vice president of the student body at the College of White Plains. Walsh continued on to earn a master’s degree in social work and a doctorate in social welfare, both from Fordham University. For the past 25 years, Walsh has worked as a professor in the Hunter College Department of Urban Affairs.

She runs its Public Service Scholar Program to raise money and encourage students to get involved in public service. “Leadership came naturally to me,” said Walsh. “I enjoy helping people grow, delegating out and seeing people blossom.” Walsh joined the Community Board 15 years ago, first chairing the Economic Development Committee. She helped jumpstart crime prevention programs

NEIGHBORHOOD CIVIC ASSOCIATION in conjunction with the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House and helped organize a community task force in 2002. The task force surveyed residents and local businesses and identified a need for a civic group to handle quality of life issues on East 86th Street, which led to the formation of the East 86th Street Association in 2003. As president of the Association, Walsh works with many community

members, neighborhood residents and local businesses. Teri Slater, the Association’s secretary and co-chairperson of Community Board 8’s Zoning and Development Committee feels lucky to be one of them. “She’s infallible, she doesn’t give up and she’s a fighter—that’s what it takes to be a community advocate,” Slater said. “She has a full-time job but she applies the same hard work, intelligence and strength of character to the community on the Upper East Side.” Over the last few years, Walsh has led the association to get historic lamps installed down the East 86th Street corridor, fix broken corners, plant trees and clear space for upcoming bike racks. She helped get neighborhood signage replaced and worked with big retailers to maintain decorum on the streets. Walsh now lives on 86th Street with her partner of 30 years, Brenda McGowan. “I’ve been lucky enough to have good health and live a long time,” said Walsh. “I understand that change takes time, but we’re getting there. We’re making a difference.” n N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


LINDEN ALSCHULER

KAPLAN, INC.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

SALUTES The Madison Avenue The Madison Avenue Business Improvement Business Improvement District congratulates salutes the 2012 District OTTY Award Winners –

2011 OTTY Award Winners

• Debra Fechter, Board Member of Madison Avenue BID • Matthew Bauer, President of Madison Avenue BID and all of the other distinguished honorees

ALL THE OTTY WINNERS

60-86 MADISON AVENUE DISTRICT MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION INCORPORATED

59 EAST 79TH STREET • NEW YORK, NY 10075 212.861.2055 FAX: 212.861.7838 WWW.MADISONAVENUEBID.ORG

1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 212-575-4545

 

The Lexington Democratic Club

CONGRATULATES Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney

In receiving Our Town’s Award for Upper East Sider of the Year and for her distinguished service to our community! www.LexClub.org O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

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2012 OTTY AWARDS

Montana Escaped his Grasp, but Hospital Staff Gets a Helping Hand By Stephen Santulli

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aryl Wilkerson helped make history three decades ago—just not his own. As a defensive end for the University of Houston, Wilkerson could have stopped Notre Dame from winning the 1979 Cotton Bowl if only he’d sacked Joe Montana before the star quarterback threw the game-winning pass on the last play of the game. By not making the play, Wilkerson figures, he helped put Montana on track toward a legendary NFL career. It’s a story that Wilkerson, now 53, likes to tell about the path he’s taken since that game, which included one NFL season of his own for the Baltimore Colts and wound all the way to the Upper East Side, where he is now vice president of support services at Mount Sinai Hospital, overseeing all nonclinical operations like food service, housekeeping, engineering and construction—20 departments and 1,200 employees in all. In a sense, he’s come full circle. “In one profession, I used to put people

HEALTH CARE PRO Coming to Mount Sinai, Wilkerson said he understood that in addition to his responsibility to patients, he had an obligation to support his staff, many of whom stayed with the hospital in its darkest hours, and make them feel as invested in Mount Sinai’s success as its doctors and nurses are. He describes his philosophy as “each one, teach one.” “What I needed to do was come in and be a true leader for them,” he said. The support service staff includes many entry-level and minority work-

ers, and Wilkerson also feels a duty to provide a positive role model as a successful African American from humble beginnings. It’s a mission he’s taken beyond the hospital’s walls and into the surrounding community. Born in Houston, Wilkerson frequently moved with his family during his childhood; his father served in the military. He had little exposure to New York—before taking the job with Mount Sinai, he said, “I’d only been through to get my butt kicked by the New York Giants or [the USFL’s] New Jersey Generals.” But Wilkerson and his wife, Diane, found a brownstone on the Upper East Side near Central Park, giving him a firsthand look at how Mount Sinai serves the neighborhood. He regularly attends community meetings to make sure the hospital has a face that neighborhood residents can see and sits on the board of the Yorkville Common Pantry. Wilkerson’s commitment to the neighborhood’s disadvantaged and minority residents also shows in the hospital’s partnership with The Doe Fund, which helps homeless men find jobs, first on

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

in the hospital. Now I try to get them cured and out of the hospital,” Wilkerson said. Mount Sinai was coming out of the fiscal emergency ward when it hired Wilkerson in 2006, having shored up its finances after years in the red. He said that since then, the hospital has continued its strong turnaround, thanks in large part to “forward-thinking” new leadership.

Daryl Wilkerson, an ex-NFL player, is a mentor and vice president at Mount Sinai. street-cleaning crews. Eighty-five percent of The Doe Fund’s clients are African American and just as many have had previous trouble with the law, according to Patricia Laufer, a director at Doe. The group has placed 15 clients in jobs and internships at Mount Sinai—all working for Wilkerson. “He recognizes that sometimes people need a door opened to them,” Laufer said. And though he may not be a native, Laufer says there’s one way that Wilkerson fits in well in the city: He’s “definitely New York-paced,” she said. “I’ve never met anyone who works as hard.” n

Handling a Patient’s Darkest Hour with Compassion and Care

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

Mary Cahill. By Ashley Welch

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ne could say that being a nurse is in Mary Cahill’s blood. The daughter of a nurse, she has three sisters who also took up the profession.

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“Being a nurse is not something that is foreign in my family,” she said with a laugh. In fact, Cahill, the nursing coordinator at the Appel-Venet Comprehensive Breast Service at Beth Israel, credits her mother for her decision to become a nurse. “I remember her coming home exhausted,” she said, “but she always spoke about her day and her patients, and I thought to myself, that’s something I would like to one day do.” Cahill, 47, has been a nurse for almost 18 years and has held her current position for eight. She said she enjoys her work because she gets to interact so closely with the patients. “I get to see them on a regular basis and really get to know them,” she said. Since the patients who come in to the center at Beth Israel are often dealing with serious cases of cancer,

she sees them over a period of many months. Since it is an extremely stressful and difficult time in their lives, Cahill said a nurse must possess a great deal of patience, understanding and care. “The job requires a lot of emotional

HEALTH CARE PRO support for the patients,” she said. “Oftentimes, when they see the doctor, they are only listening to a small portion of what’s being said because they’re so nervous and anxious. Afterward, they come to me with all their questions. I also get a lot of phone calls.” Acting as a patient liaison, Cahill also discusses surgery and treatment options, schedules visits and surgeries,

refers patients to support groups and assesses wounds. She admits that at times, the job can be emotionally taxing. “You see people at their worst,” she said. “What’s hardest to deal with is when you see someone give up.” But Cahill said the other nurses provide a good support system when the job becomes difficult to handle; they are readily available to discuss their emotions and experiences with one another. She feels also must press on to be there for her other patients. “The most rewarding part of the job is when I see someone who has finished treatment,” she said. “Usually, a patient comes in nervous and terrified and I see them through the process of getting their life back again. They are so thrilled to be done and are hopeful and appreciative of the guidance and hope I’ve given them.” n N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


The Mount Sinai Medical Center

Congratulates

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney United StateS HoUSe of RepReSentativeS

East Sider of the Year

Daryl Wilkerson vice pReSident of SUppoRt SeRviceS tHe moUnt Sinai medical centeR

Health Care Pro and all of the

OTTY Award Recipients b Kenneth L. Davis, M.D.

Dennis S. Charney, M.D.

Wayne Keathley

President and Chief Executive Officer

Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean

President and Chief Operating Officer

tHe moUnt Sinai medical centeR

moUnt Sinai ScHool of medicine

tHe moUnt Sinai HoSpital

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs tHe moUnt Sinai medical centeR

O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

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2012 OTTY AWARDS

A Comforting Presence in the Emergency Room By Sarah Amandolare

and its own rules. There’s a lot of fear.” She created the volunteer program in 1995 with just one person; she was the only staff member. Now she leads a team of volunteer medical students and staffers are nurses and clinicians. Collectively, they bring a level of knowledge and expertise to the program, which, Peterson said, sets New York Presbyterian’s ER apart from others in New York and throughout the country.

C

HEALTH CARE PRO “I look for a certain personality that can withstand the pressure and the very strong emotions that come up here,” she said. “I tell my staff that they must be the calm presence.” Peterson studied cultural anthropology and sociology in her native Missouri, which could account for her skill with people. When she moved to New York to pursue graduate studies in health administration at Sarah Lawrence College, she fell for the city’s diversity. Working in

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

onstance Peterson admits her job is intense. As director of patient services for the emergency department at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Peterson encounters pain and suffering on a daily basis. “Short of on the battlefield,” she said, “most people in their work life don’t experience this.” Peterson, 58, has directed what’s called “comfort care” since 1995. She and her staff of 20 employees and 80 volunteers ensure that ER patients and their families are taken care of from the moment they walk though the doors. She is also the liaison between patients and other clinical departments in the hospital. In the ER, where people are often frightened and overwhelmed, Peterson and her staff try to instill calm. They make rounds every 30 minutes, offering warm blankets, delivering cups of hot chocolate, providing bedside phones and updating patients’ families as often as possible, all in an effort to assuage anxiety. “It’s like entering a foreign country,” Peterson said. “The ER has its own language

health care gives her constant access to the melting pot. “Our patients come from all over the country and the world,” she said. “In the ER, it’s egalitarian.” It’s also crowded. Hundreds of patients enter the ER on a daily basis, and because the hospital has programs devoted to burns, pediatrics and psychiatry, they present an extraordinary range of conditions. Peterson doesn’t deal with thorny issues like diagnoses, insurance or immigration status, which allows her to focus on the patient. “While they’re here, they have questions. We can connect them with resources,” she said. Peterson lives on the Upper East Side in the same neighborhood where she works, affording her an intimate knowledge of the concerns and conditions facing locals. It’s an aging population, which presents distinct challenges. If an elderly spouse is brought into the ER, Peterson and her staff look out for his or her other half. “Maybe they need a reminder to take their meds,” she said. “It’s the small acts of kindness.” Focusing on the little things keeps

Constance Peterson, director of patient services for the emergency department at New York Presbyterian. Peterson going without getting bogged down by the unpredictable nature of health care. Her industry may be in flux, but she embraces it. “We don’t know the direction health care will go in the next decade, but the ER always has to be prepared for changes,” she said. “I think we’ll be prepared.” n

Once Homeless, Now a Homeless Shelter Volunteer

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

Thomas Williams, once a client at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church’s homeless shelter, volunteers overnight there at least one night a week. By Max Sarinsky

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homas Williams has been through plenty of tough times, and he doesn’t want to forget them. OUR TOW N

March 29, 2012

After enduring a decade-long stretch of homelessness, Williams now volunteers at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on the Upper East Side—where he resided for six months—spending most of his shift just a few yards from the cot he once slept on. Williams’ homeless spell ended four years ago when he moved into a city transitional housing facility. He has since worked off and on and currently holds a part-time job selling newspapers. He said that working Thursday nights at Holy Trinity helps him appreciate the steps he’s taken since his stay there. “It keeps me humble,” he said. The walls began to cave in on Williams in the mid-1990s with the confluence of several traumatic events, including a divorce, prolonged unemployment and the death of his oldest son. He soon found himself without a home and spent most of the next decade jumping between friends’ couches, shelter beds and subway platforms. He developed a mental index of public showers and kitchens throughout the city.

It wasn’t until a homeless friend died in the cold that Williams decided it was time for a more permanent fix. He registered for city assistance and was temporarily placed at Holy Trinity until housing became available. “I was too proud to come to one of these places to get help,” Williams said. “You’ve got to swallow your pride after a while.” Williams dreamed of playing in the

CHARITY NFL as a child—a dream he came very close to realizing, playing fullback for two years in the Canadian Football League and receiving an invitation to try out for the Cincinnati Bengals. Now 51, he’s scaled back his ambitions. He said that the choice to return to Holy Trinity in 2008 as a volunteer was an easy one, and that he wouldn’t trade his gig for anything. “It definitely gives my life meaning,” he said. “I’ll be here till they put me in the

pine box.” Mark Roshkind, Holy Trinity’s shelter site coordinator, praised Williams’ commitment and dedication, noting that “on numerous occasions, [he] has singlehandedly enabled the shelter site to remain open, typically providing overnight service two and three times weekly.” Williams added that as a former homeless man, he is able to empathize with the clients and understand their needs. “I put myself in their shoes every time I’m here,” he said. “They’re just trying to find a place to call home.” On a recent Thursday evening, Williams supervised a group of 13 men who were staying at the shelter. While many of the clients mingled and watched a Nigerian film, Williams stayed largely to himself, answering their questions and assisting with cots, sheets and kitchen appliances. When one of the clients spilled Dr. Pepper all over the floor, Williams calmly pointed him to a nearby towel rack. “I’ve seen worse than this before,” he said as they wiped away the mess. n N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


With Great Pride, The Hunter College Foundation Congratulates This Year’s Educators of the Year Board of Regents Chancellor

M erryl T isch CUNY Chancellor

M aT Thew G oldsTein Hunter College President

J ennifer J. r aab

For Their Commitment to Excellence in Public Education and Their Tireless Efforts on Behalf of CUNY Students.

DISCO FEVER March 31 @ 8:30 PM Sutton Place Synagogue 225 East 51st Street, NYC

Put on your dancing shoes – outrageous 70s clothes

Start practicing your moves now… DISCO IS FOR EVERYONE (Membersand andNon-Members Non-MembersWelcome) Welcome) (Members In advance: $36 p.p. (includes wine, beer, dessert bar & GREAT MUSIC!) At Door: $40 In advance: $36p.p. p.p. (includesReserve wine, beer,Today: dessert 212.593.3300 bar & GREAT MUSIC!) hjanover@spsnyc.org At Door: $40 p.p.

Reserve Today: 212.593.3300 hjanover@spsnyc.org

 

The Board of Trustees joins the administration, faculty, students and families of Convent of the Sacred Heart in sending congratulations to

EMILY K. RAFFERTY on receiving the 2012 OTTY Award

Convent of the Sacred Heart 1 East 91st Street New York, NY 10128

O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

Congratulations

Rep. Carolyn Maloney Champion of the East Side Supporting NYC as the leader of healthy, active lifestyles.

AsphaltGreen_Manhattan Media_4.917x5.541_AD.indd 1

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2012 OTTY AWARDS

A Personal Touch to the Glitziest Real Estate By Rachel Stern

W units she individually adorned with handselected art and artifacts such as Warhol prints and long, polished bathroom mirrors. “I hope people get as much pleasure living in them as I get decorating them.” “Every unit has the taste and touch of Louise,” said Richard Nassimi, director of sales at The W. “They present a really warm, unique feeling.” Sunshine has marketing in her genes;

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ully furnished with both boldly colored modern furniture and rustic, midcentury antiques, seven turnkey apartments went on sale at The W Downtown at the beginning of January. Even with prices 28 percent higher than the building’s unfurnished units, all were snagged by the beginning of February. International investors purchased six of the units to rent out, and rising Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin rented a 1,182-square-foot two-bedroom condo. These artful abodes are the latest undertaking of Louise Sunshine, 71, a longtime New York real estate marketer who is known for infusing interior design into residential real estate to boost its value and help it sell more quickly. Through Sunshine Select Residences, the new company she is undertaking with the help of her two sons, she aims to bring her pre-furnished apartments and condos to high-end markets around the world, starting with the Financial District. “They’re contemporary design mixed with vintage pieces,” said Sunshine of the

REAL ESTATE ROYALTY her grandfather was Barney Pressman, of Barney’s New York, and her father ran a real estate business. A mother of three, she volunteered in the 1970s as a high-level political fundraiser and was a Democratic National Committee chairwoman. Her marketing skills caught the eye of one of her big donors—Donald Trump— who gave Sunshine her first job working as a lobbyist for him in a two-room office on Lexington Avenue. She helped him

execute the Trump Towers of 1984 and several well-known buildings that followed, including The Promenade, luxurious high-rise towers at 530 E. 76th St. “Donald and I worked together for 15 years and developed 15 exciting and successful buildings,” said Sunshine, who was vice president of The Trump Organization between 1975 and 1985. In 1986, Sunshine’s success prompted her to start her own business, The Sunshine Group, which made $8 billion in real estate sales over 16 years. There she coined the phrase, “Not all square feet are created equal.” Now Sunshine, 71, has homes in Connecticut, Palm Beach and New York—she maintains a pied-à-terre at One Beacon Court at the top of the Bloomberg Tower (151 E. 58th St.), one of the buildings she marketed while she was at The Sunshine Group. All, she says, have their own unique, homey design; the midtown apartment more modern and the Connecticut one blending into the local more traditional style. She aims to expand to international cities, with plans to sell Sunshine Select

Louise Sunshine of The Sunshine Group. Residences in Hong Kong and Tel Aviv, she said. But for Sunshine, this move only marks the beginning of her latest trajectory. “I would like to see it grow in the direction,” she said, “that we have properties in every international city.” n

Making a Real Impact in Community Service

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

Debra Fechter. By Alexander Tucciarone

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anaging residential and commercial properties is Debra Fechter’s profession. Making sure these properties are located in strong, safe communities is her passion. As a partner of the Digby Management Company, Fechter is responsible for

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determining what makes properties valuable. In her personal life, she has shown that what made her so successful in real estate has also made her a leader in community service. She does this through her involvement with numerous philanthropic organizations, including the East Midtown Realty Foundation and the New York City Police Foundation. “One of the nice things about my work is that I get to solve problems with a group of people with such diverse interests,” Fechter said. “Given their differences, these groups can each contribute something of unique value.” With the East Midtown Realty Foundation, Fechter works with business owners, residents and other community members to reach common-sense solutions to quality of life issues. Her work with the Foundation, The Doe Fund and Bowery Residents’ Committee is typical of her “everyone wins” approach to community service. The Doe Fund pays homeless citizens to help maintain city neighborhoods by collecting trash and shoveling snow. This provides employment to

homeless individuals and improves life for everyone living and working in the community. “What The Doe Fund does is a remarkable thing,” Fechter said. “It is a very good feeling to be a part of the work that they do.” Judy Dynia, director of development for the New York City Police Foundation, has worked with Fechter in her capacity as a member of NYPD Crimestoppers. Fechter’s role on this committee is to help determine the reward amount for

REAL ESTATE ROYALTY various fugitives. “Whenever Debra makes a recommendation, it’s clear that she’s analyzed the issue,” Dynia said. “She builds consensus and does this in a professional way.” Fechter also shows her support for law enforcement by purchasing an ad every year in the journal of the Police Foundation. She uses the ad to celebrate the work of the NYPD.

“She knows that having safe streets is so important for having successful businesses,” Dynia said. “She personalizes her generosity by giving both her time and resources in a graceful, professional way.” Fechter was involved in philanthropy long before she entered the working world. As a high school student growing up in New Rochelle, she volunteered at an after-school program for people with special needs. “Giving up my time for the less fortunate was always something encouraged by example from my family,” Fechter said. That example continues as her two daughters follow her lead. Her eldest daughter is enrolled at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and her youngest is involved in volunteer work at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York. Despite all of the professional accolades, Fechter is humble about her accomplishments. “I feel lucky to be a part of all this and for the chance to contribute in my small way,” she said. n N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


Congratulations

Carolyn Maloney on receiving the 2012 OTTY award as “East Sider of the Year” Thank you for your continued support of the health care community in New York

Congratulations to

Carolyn Maloney as you receive the 2012 OTTY Award “East Sider of the Year.” The health-care community appreciates your ongoing support on behalf of all New Yorkers.

The Hamptons AreTh Always e Hamptons in Season

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March 29, 2012

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2012 OTTY AWARDS

Condo Developers Who Also Built a School By Vatisha Smith

and construction,” DeMatteis said. Both organizations have developed numerous schools over the past several years. The partnership started with Mattone’s relationship with DeMatteis’ grandfather back in the 1960s, when they assembled properties off the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn.

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he Upper East Side was rocked by a fatal crane accident in 2008 that resulted in the deaths of two people. Fast-forward to September 2010 on the same site, where there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of The Azure and Middle School 114, located at 331 E. 91st St. Joseph Mattone of The Mattone Group and Scott DeMatteis of The DeMatteis Organizations were the guiding hands behind the partnership that built The Azure, a luxury high-rise condominium that includes a new middle school on the same location. The modern school replaced the aging P.S. 151. The Azure complex includes a 128unit luxury tower and 520-seat school. It was built as part of the Education Construction Fund (ECF), a program that was created by the New York State Legislature in 1967. The fund encourages constructing mixed-use real estate projects that feature new schools. “We have a tremendous amount of experience in school development

REAL ESTATE ROYALTY Mattone was born Sept. 15, 1931, in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Initially he practiced law, but transitioned into property development after learning the business from his older brother. DeMatteis, the third generation in his family to work in real estate, has been in the business for over 30 years. He currently resides in Long Island with his family. The new school is a District 2 school that goes from 6th to 8th grade. Under the direction of Principal David Getz, it has become one of the most soughtafter schools on the Upper East Side.

Joseph Mattone and Scott DeMatteis built M.S. 114 and The Azure building on East 91st Street. It replaced a dilapidated, overcrowded structure. “The ECF was very specific as to the requirements for the design of the building,” DeMatteis said. Both men are proud of the school and building they built.

“Elected officials and representatives of the community and board of education praised the completion of the school,” Mattone said. “The community has also spoken about the quality of the residential project, which is approximately 50 percent sold.” n

Lighting Up the Upper East Side

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

David Brooks returned to New York City to take over his father’s shop, Just Bulbs. The store prides itself on selling every type of light bulb. By Ashley Welch

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unning a business in New York City was never something David Brooks planned on doing. Born in Queens, he left his hometown for St.

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Louis at 24 to study law. He met his wife Faye there and they were practicing tax law in 1981 when Brooks received a call that his father, Philip, was ill. He had a decision to make: return to New York to take over his father’s light bulb store or stay in St. Louis and let the shop fall by the wayside. He chose the former. “We packed our stuff and moved to the city,” he said. “It was a bit traumatic and a huge change in lifestyle.” Brooks, 57, planned on practicing law in New York, but due to a number of circumstances, including his father’s declining health, it was not possible. But he does not regret his decision, joking, “The happiest lawyers are former lawyers.” Just Bulbs opened in 1980, though Philip has been in the light bulb business, selling door-to-door, since 1942. The shop prides itself on selling every type of light bulb, including incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, mercury, sodium and metal halide. The store

also stocks projection lamps, lighting for photo and stage, specialty bulbs for medical and scientific use and light bulbs for automotive and aviation applications, among others. In addition, Just Bulbs offers lighting consultations, repairs and cleanings. Brooks said that this wide selection

ENTREPRENEURS of common and specialty products, along with a strong sense of customer service, is what makes his business thrive. “We have the right solution for every situation,” he said. “Some people come in here and know exactly what they want, but a lot of people aren’t sure what it is that they need, so they come in and talk to us. We know what questions to ask to help them find exactly what they’re looking for.”

Just Bulbs employs nine staff members, many of whom have over 20 years of experience in the light bulb industry and are ready to answer any lighting-related questions. He admits that running a business is hard work, but it is rewarding. The store is open seven days a week, nine hours a day, and he puts in most of those hours himself. “It’s challenging because you’re always on call,” he said, “but being your own boss, you don’t have to answer to anyone—if you make mistakes, they’re your own mistakes.” In 2007, Just Bulbs moved to its current location on the Upper East Side from its previous home on Broadway and 22nd Street. Brooks said he was surprised by the warm welcome he received from the other shop owners in the area. “All the businesses here are like a small community,” he said. “We all know each other and get along and give each other discounts. It’s a nice feeling.” n N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


The Corcoran Group is proud to recognize

Louise Sunshine for her tremendous contributions to the community, the real estate industry and the city of New York.

The Corcoran Group I 660 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10065 The Corcoran Group is a licensed real estate broker. Owned and operated by NRT LLC.

O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

March 29, 2012

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FIlm

Starve, Suckers! ‘Hunger’ plays TV games By Armond White On the most superficial level, The Hunger Games is about a futuristic postwar society called Panem sacrificing its young people in a gladiatorial survival tournament. Each district in Panem sends a female and male Tribute, chosen by blood-type lottery, to fend for themselves in the wild as part of a lethal game overseen by surveillance cameras and assorted holographic traps and menaces. In all, a typical video game premise. But at its only interesting level, The Hunger Games represents the latest bread and circuses. Modern desperation is embedded in its simplistic tale of Tributes Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), teenagers from the impoverished District 12 (formerly Appalachia). Their lack of political sophistication—worse than naïveté—matches that of the filmmakers. To look at The Hunger Games only in plot terms avoids its dread significance: The smarter society thinks it becomes, the more gullible and dupable it is by the commercial and political forces that control it.

The oddest thing about The Hunger Games, given its cynical plot, is the absence of cautionary irony. Despite Lawrence’s Southern-girl warmth (well used in The Beaver), bow-and-arrow huntress Katniss shows as few intellectual resources as the mainstream media’s depiction of Sarah Palin. Gary Ross’ admittedly peculiar directorial style reduces Katniss and Peeta to post-Internet Neanderthals. Their extended battle royale is what movie shills routinely call “breath-bating adventure.” We are indeed through the looking glass if movies are designed to have no meaning beyond their immediate storylines or marketing points. Based on novels by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is another demi-phenomenon like the Harry Potter, Twilight and Toy Story franchises. These movies are second-phase commercial exchanges whose only purpose is to confirm the first phase. Each is a paradigm of how perfectly badly the system works: substandard product relying on hype, not insight into the human soul. If The Hunger Games was any good at

A scene from The Hunger Games. all, it would have discussable themes— ambition, patriotism, faith, desire, disillusionment. Ross’ superficiality leaves only a time-killing preoccupation with “action,” a dulling substitute for narrative. This derives from the mobius strip quality of TV shows like 24 and Lost, superficial, never-ending stories. Look how blandly Ross depicts the dinner table conflict between contestants and their mentors (Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson); Ross can’t even make beauty out of Katniss finding a blue butterfly in the woods. With no philosophy to think

about, The Hunger Games’ aesthetic poverty is exposed. The Hunger Games hits bottom when Katniss and Peeta kiss; the applauding audience becomes suckers for the exact same tricks played on Katniss and Peeta—Ross dulls their perception and lowers their responses. As with Stanley Tucci’s ludicrous exaggeration of an Oprah Winfrey-style TV host, bread-andcircuses ringmaster Ross offers a tent pole blockbuster that is essentially a television show. Its lack of satire invites the public’s dumb gullibility.

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Q01244 FEC-Veteran Planning:Layout 3

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Veterans are Honored Here We are committed to celebrating the significance of lives that have been lived, which is why we have always made service to veterans and their families a priority. Many of the men and women who protected our freedoms do not receive the proper respect they are entitled to at their passing. Sometimes this is because their families and funeral providers may be unaware of the veteran benefits available, or it may be because they simply did not know what their final wishes were. That is why we are pleased to offer you this Veterans Planning Guide. By reading the information and completing

H

the appropriate forms, you will take an important step for

Holy Week at St. Thomas More Church 65 East 89th Street (betw. Madison & Park) (212) 876-7718 Website: http://www.thomasmorechurch.org St. Thomas More Church welcomes

The Rev. Patrick J. Ryan, S.J., Ph.D. (Harvard) Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society Fordham University Author of The Coming of Our God (Paulist Press, 1999) and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (Paulist Press, 2004) Holy Thursday, April 5th at 6:00 p.m. Concelebrated Mass of the Lord’s Supper

your future peace of mind and at the same time secure all the Veterans burial benefits you are entitled to. To receive a complimentary Veterans Planning Guide or to learn more about preplanning options, contact us at 212-288-3500.

Good Friday, April 6th Service of “The Seven Last Words” at 1:00 p.m. Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death at 3:00 p.m. Holy Saturday, April 7th, at 7:30p.m. Solemn Liturgy of the Easter Vigil

FRANK E. C AM PB EL L T H E

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Father Ryan will deliver the homily at each of the above services. Also at St. Thomas More: Good Friday at 6:00 p.m. Stations of the Cross and Veneration of the Cross (Choral music with the St. Thomas More Choir at each service) Easter Sunday Masses Easter Vigil Mass, Holy Saturday, April 7th, 7:30 p.m. Sunday Masses 8:30, 9:45, 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. No Evening Mass on Easter Sunday

The Original Teachings of

Theosophy

as recorded by H.P. Blavatsky & William Q. Judge Special Meeting

Sunday May 6th at 7:30 p.m. “White Lotus Day,” Commemorating the Life and Work of H.P. Blavatsky That which men call death is but a change of location for the Ego, a mere transformation, a forsaking for a time of the mortal frame, a short period of rest before one reassumes another human frame in the world of mortals. The Lord of this body is nameless; dwelling in numerous tenements of clay, it appears to come and go; but neither death nor time can claim it, for it is deathless, unchangeable, and pure, beyond Time itself, and not to be measured. So our old friend and fellow worker has merely passed for a short time out of sight, but has not given up the work begun so many years ago--the uplifting of humanity, the destruction of the shackles that enslave the human mind.

--William Q. Judge

All Meetings Free No Dues No Collections TV Channel 57 Fri @ 9:30PM

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April 1 Karma--Law of Ethical Causation 15 The Astral Light 29 Symbolism in Myths May 6 13 27

“White Lotus Day” Deity, Law, Being The Cycle of Reincarnation

For full program contact:

The United Lodge of Theosophists

Theosophy Hall Phone (212) 535- 2230 O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

347 East 72nd St., New York www.ULT.org

March 29, 2012

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7:30 p.m

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Petty, Humane and Perfect

arts

Sherman, Rembrandt and Degas in portrait

Apples and Oranges—that’s a colleague’s alternate title for Rembrandt

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exhibition. Place the name of either artist on a banner and a steady stream of visitors is guaranteed. Still, cynicism shouldn’t prevail—at least, not initially. Part of a curator’s job is to explore the possible and render it revelatory. Turns out Rembrandt and Degas isn’t revelatory in the least. Sure, Degas made a copy of Rembrandt’s “Young Man in a Velvet Cap” (1637) and paid keen attention to the Dutch master’s distinctive way with line, light and “the depth he is able to achieve.” The Frenchman was a voracious student of tradition; it’s fair to say every artist Degas came into contact with was funneled through his steely, elegant intellect. Rembrandt was one amongst many, that’s all. As a study in contrasts, the Met exhibition has its uses. Degas’ exercises in self-portraiture are heady and pitiless, their rigor is risky, pointed and sure. Psychological insight wasn’t alien to Degas’ vision, but neither was it a driving force. Rembrandt, on the other hand, couldn’t make a mark without embodying a distinctive and inquisitive generosity of spirit. Even as a cocky young buck, Rembrandt was a mensch—take a look at the showy “Self-Portrait as a Young Man” (1629). In it, the 23-year-old artist daubs oil paint with a brilliance that borders on the vulgar. Then check the gaze, hidden in shadow: Rembrandt is both startled and haunted—as if he had become aware of, and daunted by, his own boundless empathy. It’s a disquietingly naked moment. Forget historical illumination: As a tidy array of exquisite little pictures, Rembrandt and Degas is a welcome anti-blockbuster of a show.

Courtesy the artist and Metro PiCtures, new york © 2012 Cindy sherMan

By Mario Naves What would art be without fiction— that is to say, without the allusive sweep of metaphor? Literature, music, painting, poetry, dance, film—you name it, every medium thrives when it embodies something beyond its material means. “Art that conceals art” is old news, of course, but that’s not to say it isn’t desirable or, in fact, an ongoing necessity. The human animal has craved the stuff since Day 1. Nowadays, you know, we’re more advanced than that. Fiction—it’s so passé. At least, that’s the lesson of Cindy Sherman, an eponymous retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Devotees of the postmodernist pioneer would argue otherwise. Hasn’t Sherman been devoted to fiction or, at least, its attendant limitations since the first time she planted herself in front of a camera? She’s made a substantial career assuming an array of divergent identities, among them B-movie ingénue, corpse, biker chick, fashionista, fairy tale princess, Upper East Side dowager, pinup girl and, in a recent work, an Icelandic Norma Desmond. Sherman’s photographs are purposefully ersatz in costume and affect. Caked-on makeup, thrift shop wigs, garish mood lighting, cut-rate stage sets, desultory photographic technique and thank God for the advent of Photoshop—artifice is Sherman’s all. Arrant contrivance is a tool for investigating “the construction of contemporary identity,” “the nature of representation” and “the tyranny…of images.” Reasonable avenues of inquiry, I suppose, but there’s a difference between inhabiting an invented persona and, as one wit had it, pretending to pretend. Novelty tits and a blank stare don’t prompt much in the way of sociological insight, let alone create a compelling fiction. The purpose they serve is to let us know that Cindy Sherman— front, center and oddly puritanical—is calling the shots. Here is an artist who doesn’t—or can’t—venture beyond the strictures of self. No amount of irony can redeem her cold, callow art.

Cindy Sherman Through June 11, The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St., 212-7089400, www.moma.org.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #137, 1984, Chromogenic color print. and Degas: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has a point: What commonality is shared between history’s most humane artist and its most perfect? (Really, did any-

thing Degas touch not turn to gold?) Box office receipts may have prompted The Met, along with coorganizers The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, to mount this jewel-box

Rembrandt and Degas: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Through May 20, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave., 212-5357710, www.metmuseum.org. This article first appeared in the March 7 issue of CityArts. For more from New York’s Review of Culture, visit www. cityartsnyc.com. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


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new york family

Audra’s Song

Triumphant in her return to Broadway in ‘Porgy and Bess’, four-time Tony winner Audra McDonald would be the first to say her favorite role is being a mom By Kat Harrison

A

Is it true that your daughter Zoe was born on Valentine’s Day? Yes—best Valentine’s present ever! Do you two have any special traditions? Usually, the night before her birthday, she likes to hear the story of her birth— [it] was crazy, I went into pre-term labor [when I was] five and a half months pregnant with her. [Before], I was on bed rest

Hot Tip of the Week

Easter Egg Hunt at Carl Shurz Don your nicest Easter bonnet and have fun hunting for eggs this Saturday at the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy on the Upper East Side. The park’s eighth annual Egg Hunt will include three separate hunts, starting at noon. Face painting, a concert by Moey’s Music Party and bunny photo ops guarantee a good time. Rain date will be Sunday, April 1. For more information, visit carlschurzparknyc.org. And for even more family fun, visit newyorkfamily.com.

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What’s it like raising Zoe in New York even though you had a Fresno, California, childhood? We moved out of the city [to Westchester] when she was not even a year. So she has been growing up in the woods. She has a backyard but also has the added luxury of an apartment in the city. She has her piano lessons in the city, she’s seen every Broadway show that’s appropriate for a child to see—and maybe some that are not. I want her to be a theater kid. Her dad plays in orchestras everywhere. She’s been to Carnegie Hall, The New York Philharmonic—she’s getting all this incredible culture. She’s seeing the diversity of the city but she’s also fortunate enough that she’s getting the woods, catching frogs and hearing coyotes howl at night. The best of both worlds. Do you have any advice for parents who want to nurture creativity in their children? If dance or music lessons are a little difficult to afford because it’s a terrible economy right now, see what’s available within your community: check out community centers, the YMCA, your church and school activities. But follow the child and encourage it. Let it grow. Someone who studies music already has a different look on the world. Diversity and tolerance come along with pursuing the arts. Besides her artiness, what other qualities do you love in Zoe? She’s a really kind, sensitive soul. She’s very concerned about other people’s feelings and puts other people before herself—a bit too much. And then she’s got this fierce wit on top of it, which usually doesn’t go hand-in-hand, so the combo of the two is hysterical. We were at Disneyland and a couple of people were asking for my autograph.

Do you bring Zoe to the theater with you? Yes, she’ll hang out backstage—reading, playing on her iPod or with my make up. So [that way], at least I’m getting to be with her and she’s feeling like we’re together. [Plus], she can hear me. She’ll even say things like, “Mommy, you sounded like you were a little scared in that one scene.” Who do you admire most within and outside of the theater world? Zoe Caldwell, I named my child after her. Lena Horne, Judy Garland and Billie Holiday. Christine Quinn, I hope she’s our next mayor. I think she’s as smart as a whip, passionate and she’s living her life fully and truly.

photo by Josh Lehrer

yellow-and-red friendship bracelet is twisted loosely around Audra McDonald’s wrist, a daily reminder of her daughter Zoe, now 11. On the same hand, her engagement ring—an opal-set family heirloom from her fiancé, Priscilla Queen of the Desert’s Will Swenson—sits proud. This is McDonald’s quiet. Now for her loud. McDonald, a four-time Tony winner and two-time Grammy recipient, perhaps most well-known for her performances in Carousel, Master Class and four-season run as Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC’s Private Practice, is a woman of dynamics. Just close your eyes as she takes the stage in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. With operatic grace, even when she stands completely still, McDonald’s voice cuts the air. It’s this steadily swinging balance of crescendos and decrescendos that brings McDonald into focus—no matter if she’s singing or Tweeting about her daughter’s latest one-liner.

for three and a half months. I had to cancel everything and lay on my back or left side. It was during the presidential election, the year with George Bush and Al Gore. I watched a lot of TLC’s A Baby Story. I was starting to get so emotional that my husband at the time [orchestral bassist Peter Donovan] was like, “You can’t watch this anymore. It’s making you worse.” I [also] ordered her entire nursery online and had to meet her doctor on the phone.

So she said to the person who was leading us around, “All I wanted to do was ride some rides and now my mom’s Mickey Mouse.” She’s got lots of great one-liners like that that come flying out of nowhere. How do you balance such a hectic career with being a parent? I think that any working parent will tell you that any time spent away from your child is frustrating. We miss each other a lot when we’re not together. It’s hard if you’re a theater performer because your child is gone at school during the day and then you perform at night. So we cherish all the time that we have together. You trained at Juilliard. Did you always think you would be doing what you’re doing now? Being on Broadway is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. Juilliard felt like a little bit of a detour but it turned out that it was part of a higher plan—something I definitely needed. What drew you to the production of Porgy and Bess, besides the timelessness of it? [Bess] is a role that I always dreamed about doing someday. I figured I would do it somewhere even if I sang it with myself. I just wanted to come back to Broadway. I was tired of commuting back and forth from LA [for Private Practice]—twice, sometimes three times a week. It was horrible but I had to; my daughter was here, so I had no choice.

You played a mother on Private Practice while being a mother off-screen as well. Did that affect you at all? The whole arc with Maya getting pregnant and seeing how Naomi reacted to that—I got a lot of angry, angry mail. People were so furious that a mother would hit their child and then force them to have an abortion. For me, it was what Shonda Rhimes wrote. As far as Naomi saw it, her child’s life was now ruined and she wasn’t going to get to live a normal life. And in the heat of the moment, I totally understood that reaction. I was kind of glad that Shonda wrote that, because it was a real reaction. It was raw, but it was real. Some people just got really upset, but I understood it. What lessons have you learned from motherhood—the good and the bad? Motherhood means never sleeping again. Because for some reason, even if you are not with your child, you are still thinking about them. It’s something you don’t know until you give birth. I also never knew how fiercely protective I could be. I would kill for my child. You don’t see that inside of you until you have [one]. And the level of love—it’s spiritual. Even on those days when you want to put them somewhere, find a mute button and say “STOP TALKING FOR 30 SECONDS!” Even on those days, the love is unbelievable. This story first appeared in the March issue of New York Family. For a peek at more images from our photo shoot with Audra McDonald, visit newyorkfamily. com. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


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Alternative Health

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Relax, Fat Can Help Reduce Stress Complex carbohydrates and some fats in moderation ease stress

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By Paulette Safdieh tress manifests itself in physical ways. People dealing with stress may see it reflected in weight gain or high blood pressure, while others see it in exhaustion or decreased productivity. While a midday nap or yoga class can help in the moment, a proper diet can be the solid foundation to maintain positive changes and stress management. “Stress in the No. 1 issue a lot of my clients have,” said nutritionist Ginnie Hill. “We don’t have control over stresses in our lives, like the kids or the job, but we can control what we eat.” According to Hill, the goal is not to eliminate stress but to learn to manage it effectively by being mindful of what we put into our bodies. Refined sugars and packaged foods trigger our adrenal glands and stress hormones, like cortisol, the same way a bad relationship or a long day at work does. A natural reaction is to try to boost the body’s levels of serotonin, a hormone that regulates the central nervous system. “The fastest way to boost serotonin is with the consumption of sugar,” said nutrition therapist Barbara Mendez, 46. “So you see people selfmedicating with bad foods and then come crashing down—but you want to feel balanced, not erratic.” Like Hill, Mendez works with clients to establish healthy diets and achieve overall well-being, weight loss and better stress management. While diets should be individualized—long-distance runners should stock up on carbohydrates and people with diabetes should steer clear of them—certain foods tend to ease stress all around. Upper West Sider Alex Dolan, a client of Hill’s, said incorporating fattier foods into his diet helped. “I was exercising six times a week and wasn’t feeling as healthy as I should, and my doctor recommended going to a nutritionist,” said Dolan, 40, who now eats more red meat, coconut butter and organic foods. “Stress [relief] was never the primary goal, but changing my diet certainly contributed to it.” Eating proteins like grass-fed meat and free-range poultry and eggs help avoid toxins and chemicals. They boost energy levels and increase focus and concentration through the release of hormones like norepinephrine and dopamine. Mendez suggests a serving size of 3-4 ounces per meal. According to Hill, people hoping to manage stress should incorporate carbohydrates high in fiber, like

48 

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Eating Your Way to Feeling Better Nutrition therapist Barbara Mendez recommends this sample menu to reduce your stress levels: BreakfaSt

Oatmeal with cinnamon, chopped nuts and berries. lunch

Mixed green salad with chicken, roasted vegetables and pumpkin seeds with oil and vinegar dressing. Small lentil soup. root vegetables, into their diet. Hearty, complex carbohydrates like brown rice, yams and beans also boost serotonin levels. Fats should include avocado, olive oil and some nuts and cheese. Alternative ways to add good fats to a diet include eating more salmon, replacing peanut butter with almond butter and sprinkling ground flax seeds over oatmeal. Both Mendez and Hill agree that a commitment of four to six weeks to such a diet will yield some positive results. “We live in a society where, when we don’t feel well, we run to the doctor and get medication but it doesn’t necessarily make us feel better,” said Mendez, who used to work as a pharmacist. “People are shocked by how much food can really affect how they feel.” Eating foods rich in natural nutrients helps maintain the body’s energy reserve, which comes in handy managing pressure and anxiety. A body under stress uses a lot of glucose, and having nutrients on hand ensures it won’t deplete. The reverse is true when eating bad foods. “Anytime you eat something devoid of nutrients, it takes more energy for your body to break it down than it actually gives you energy,” said Hill. “If your digestive system isn’t getting enough nutrients, it will go to other areas of your body, like your hair, nails and bones, and take it from there.” Most people know to avoid high fructose corn

Mid-afternoon Snack

Handful of baby carrots and individual hummus pack. for dinner

Half a baked yam, salmon and broccoli.

syrup, refined sugars and packaged foods, but certain foods on Hill’s no-no list might surprise some. Cereals marked with “low-fat” or “healthy” labels often don’t have any natural nutrients, and the skim milk in your coffee can hurt more than that shot of cream will. “Skim milk is highly processed; therefore its sugar content is higher than whole milk,” said Hill. “If you were breastfeeding a baby, would you skim the milk? No, it’s 55 percent fat for a reason. You need it for brain function.” The protein and fat in whole milk slows down the absorption rate of coffee, which spikes cortisol levels and adds stress on the body. One cup in the morning is OK, but Hill warns against sugary lattes and adding packets of Splenda. She said opting for the fattier version also provides much-needed Vitamin D. “We usually don’t get a lot of sun in the northeast,” said Hill. “The only foods that have Vitamin D are fattier ones like butter, liver and egg yolks. They’re probably the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet.” Elinor Spielberg, a client of Mendez’s, saw success with that approach. “One of the important things I’ve learned is that the more good fats we eat, the less we have on our bodies,” said Spielberg. “The good fats keep us from craving the refined stuff, the stress-inducing foods. I felt a big difference.”

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seniors

Local Seniors Get Diagnosis on Rising Health Costs

By Alexander Tucciarone and it’s so important we make sure Catherine Harbourt sipped her coffee they know we all care about this,” and looked across the auditorium of the Alvarez said. “Seniors have seen their Lenox Hill Neighborhood House as her medication costs go from $20 to $200, fellow senior citizens filed into the room. and they’re getting sticker shock.” A retired social worker, Harbourt arrived Bobbie Sackman, director of pubearly that morning to learn about what lic policy for the Council of Senior sort of long-term care will be available Centers and Services of New York City, to her through Medicare in the coming has been working on senior issues for years. decades. Before getting into advocacy, About 100 people joined Harbourt Stack ran a senior center and started that Friday morning to hear from the transportation programs for the elderpanel assembled by State Sen. Liz ly in the city. Krueger. Senior citizens across the coun“I got into this business because of try and here in New York are growing my own grandma,” Stack said. “When we concerned about how budget cuts at the started, it was the good old days, when federal and state level will affect the ser- the federal government actually sent vices they depend on. These include cuts real money to the states to provide real to Medicare, housing and other health services.” care programs. Advocates for seniors Sackman touted her organization’s are ready to organize these concerned record of success. In 2011, her group citizens politically and demand these pushed back against proposed cuts to programs be protected. Title XX, which would have closed 40 “I’m just percent of the getting really city’s senior cenconcerned ters. Mounting about what a 16,000-person “Seniors have seen their will still be letter writing there for me campaign, they medication costs go from in the future,” convinced Gov. $20 to $200, and they’re Harbourt said. Andrew Cuomo getting sticker shock.” “As someone to take the cut off with no family the table. to look after The Council me, I really of Senior Centers want to know what options I will have.” is now hoping to rally New Yorkers Alice Fisher, Krueger’s director of against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s outreach, called on the attendees to get proposed cuts to the workforce of involved in the political process. She social workers who manage cases for spoke on the senator’s behalf, who was the elderly. unable to attend because of legislative “One in three New York City seniors business in Albany. lives below the poverty line,” Sackman “We need to find the voice that we had said. “In some neighborhoods, it’s one in in the 1960s when we marched for civil one—we’re better than that.” rights, women’s liberation and to end The panel also provided some guidthe war in Vietnam,” Fisher said. “If we ance for seniors on navigating the condon’t all 48advocate, Sen. Krueger has no fusing world of Medicare coverage. ammunition.” Frederic Riccardi, director of programs During last year’s state budget battle, and outreach at the Medicare Rights $114 million was cut from the Elderly Center, explained which long-term care Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage pro- options Medicare covers and which it gram. The program has 280,000 enrollees does not. The Medicare Rights Center statewide and was created to help senior in a nonprofit created in 1989 to inform citizens pay the out of pocket cost for seniors about what benefits are available medications they are prescribed under to them through the federal entitlement Medicare Part D. program. Maria Alvarez, executive director of “Medicare and Medicaid are easy the New York StateWide Senior Action targets in today’s political climate,” Council, has been helping lead the charge Riccardi said. “It’s important for seniors against these cuts. to know which long-term care options are “The budget fight is coming up soon available.” O u r To w n NY. c o m

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continuing education

To Tutor Or Not to Tutor When all the other kids have one, it is hard not to want to give your child the same advantage. But before you hire a tutor, there are issues to consider. By Rebecca Tucker and Irene Daria The Reasons To ConsideR a TuToR

1. Your kid is falling behind in class. In private schools and competitive public schools, the academics are often accelerated, so naturally there are children who have a tough time keeping up in certain subjects. A good tutor should be able to give you an informed sense of how your child is doing, whether he can rebound on his own or could use some help, and if the school seems to be falling short in some way. A child may be struggling because she has a learning issue, she’s rebelling, she has a poor teacher or poor learning habits. Often, a child won’t swallow help from the people she’s unhappy with, which is why an objective third party who is not a teacher or a parent can be a good idea. 2. Your kid is applying to a competitive school. At almost every level, from nursery school to college, there are common tests used to help judge a prospective applicant. Specialized tutors typically can help boost your kid’s score. 3. You want enrichment for your kid. Parents (and students) can be so focused on performance and admissions issues that they never stop to consider a tutor for pure educational interest. A child may want to nurture his or her interest in a particular subject, feel more challenged or get more individualized attention than they’re getting at school. The Reasons To QuesTion iT 1. The work may be too advanced. Some schools and some parents expect children to perform at academic levels for which they are not ready. We want children to know more and more at earlier ages, but knowing more doesn’t make them smarter. Cramming a kid’s head too full of information and not taking age-appropriate development into account could push him too far too fast and potentially turn him off to learning. 2. You could be inviting burnout. Even if there seems to be a good reason to

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get a tutor, a child still has to have enough downtime to do the things he finds fun, like sports, video games or playing with his friends. 3. A child’s homework performance can be misleading. Trouble in one school subject might only be a piece of an underlying learning difficulty. Before going the tutoring route, parents should chat with teachers about a child’s performance. A teacher may recommend testing for a child to see if there is underlying learning issue; if that turns out to be the case, you can hire a tutor specially trained to address that particular problem. But if your child’s teacher says your child is doing fine in most areas, then look for a tutor in the specific trouble subject. how do i find The RighT TuToR? 1. Ask around for recommendations. They should come from other parents, your child’s school or volunteer organizations like the Parents League of New York. Interview a prospective tutor. Don’t be afraid of being thorough. A tutor should be able to summarize his or her background, experience and successes. You might want to meet the tutor before introducing him to your child, but make sure your kid is there before sealing the deal, so he feels like he has taken part in the decision. 2. Confirm the tutor’s expertise. Why do you want the tutor? Homework help for an elementary schooler might only require a college student. A high schooler who needs to catch up in a specific subject or a child prepping for a test might need someone who has either taught or tutored that subject or test for a few years. In the case of test help, you will want someone who is familiar with recent changes, such as the longer writing sample in the SAT. But lining up a biochemist to teach your child 7th grade science is not necessary. While a tutor should have a strong academic background in the subject in which the child is having trouble, the ultimate question is whether they can teach it, not whether they have a doctorate. 3. Know the plan. Prior to selecting

a tutor or learning center, a parent should speak with his or her child and come to a shared understanding of the goals they would like to achieve and then be prepared to discuss them in detail with the tutor. The efficacy of tutoring is significantly higher when parents and students are on the same page with regard to expectations. 4. Observe a mini-lesson before signing on for a set of lessons. You want a person who connects with your child. Check if the tutor is professional, patient and gives your child enough time to digest material. Also, if they’re meeting at your home or any other location that’s not the tutoring center, there needs to be an adult present. 5. Discuss the whole price. You should get a detailed pricing plan that

includes the number of sessions, the cost per session and miscellaneous fees for testing and materials. 6. Ask the tutor whether she can guarantee your kid’s improvement. If she says yes, don’t hire her, because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, says Sandi Ayaz of the National Tutoring Association. A tutor can guarantee that she will set forth a reasonable plan and work to achieve your goals, but “nobody can guarantee you can raise scores.” 7. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, look for somebody else. A strong child-tutor connection is essential to making the relationship work. Having that good rapport can really help take the learning where it needs to go. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


NYT Award-Winners_ManhattanMedia 1/13/12 3:47 PM Page 1

More CUNY Award Winners Than Ever!

Z

4 RHODES SCHOLARS 8 GOLDWATER SCHOLARS 7 TRUMAN SCHOLARS 9 NSF GRADUATE FELLOWS

in 6 YEARS in 3 YEARS in 6 YEARS in 2011

UJAJA TAUQEER, CUNY’S 2011 RHODES SCHOLAR, is exceptional but not the exception. CUNY students are winning more highly competitive awards and scholarships than at any time in our history. The City University of New York is attracting an ever-growing number of outstanding students. Our Macaulay

Honors College is home to many of this year’s winners. Assisted by a world-class faculty, they achieved their success studying at the nation’s leading urban public university. They are exceptional but not the exception.

Matthew Goldstein Chancellor

ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT: Zujaja Tauqeer, Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, Rhodes 2011; David L.V. Bauer, Macaulay Honors College at CCNY, Rhodes 2009, Truman 2008, Goldwater 2007; Eugene Shenderov, Brooklyn College, Rhodes 2005; Lev Sviridov, CCNY, Rhodes 2005, Goldwater 2004; Ayodele Oti, Macaulay Honors College at CCNY, Truman 2011; Gareth Rhodes, CUNY Baccalaureate at CCNY, Truman 2011; Anthony Pang, CCNY, NSF Fellow 2011; Jamar Whaley, Queens College, Goldwater 2009; Christine Curella, Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, Truman 2007; Celine Joiris, Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, Goldwater 2011; Claudio Simpkins, Macaulay Honors College at CCNY, Truman 2005; Ryan Merola, Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, Truman 2006; Don Gomez, CCNY, Truman 2009; Lina Mercedes Gonzalez, Hunter College, NSF Fellow 2011.

Visit cuny.edu/awardwinners O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

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continuing education

The Middle School Moment

How one educator helps to foster trust, passion and independence in students during adolescence By Noah Reinhardt Seriously, middle school? This is a question I’ve gotten a lot, having now worked for almost 15 years with middle school students. I think the horror most adults experience imagining what it must be like working with middle school kids is because we remember the worst parts of middle school. We remember our awkward, anxious, ugly selves that looked back at us in the mirror every morning (whether we avoided them at all costs or were obsessed by them). We remember friends (if we had them) as mean, selfish and preoccupied with things that felt so important at the time, even if those things seem trivial, maybe even destructive, now. We remember middle school as unsafe, uninspiring, unfair—if we even remember that much. When we picture what it must be like to work with middle school students we imagine being trapped in a room with unpredictable, narcissistic, socially obsessed, lonely misfits caught in that terrible place between the sweetness and wonder of childhood and the power and possibility of adolescence. Why would anyone want to throw oneself into a classroom with these creatures? The truth is, we forget how wonderful and special this time can be. We forget how exciting it is to literally explode— undergoing in a few short years a kind of life-changing physical, cognitive, emo-

tional transformation that we never again experience (with some rare exceptions). We forget how miraculous it is to have new independence, an opportunity to develop friendships, interests, passions and beliefs that are separate from our family’s. And we forget how earth-shattering tiny moments are—the gut-wrenching excitement and terror of the first kiss, heartbreak, failure or victory—that make us feel simultaneously all-powerful and powerless, brave and terrified. We also forget how important it is to have adults around us who notice and care about these things, too. People who give us the space to try new things and the structure to moderate our experiences, to help temper our sudden swings from high to low and to see beyond the exact instant in time in which we’re living. One of our main jobs as adults, as we usher the next generation into adolescence, is to acknowledge that their feelings, thoughts, actions and decisions actually do matter and to help them make sense of that within a much larger context than they may at first be able to see. At school, students have the opportunity to practice the skills, develop the habits and learn the truths that will underpin the adults they will become. As educators, we are charged with creating schools that shape these experiences. It is impossible to get this right all of the time. There are too many variables that impact a student’s

experience at school to imagine that even the very best, most thoughtful, wellresourced and compassionate schools could assure that every student is nurtured, supported, challenged and engaged every day. We can, of course, hope this for our children. As parents, we can try to do everything within our capacity and means to find schools that have the best chance of making this happen for our own kids. And we can and should commit whatever resources we have (finances, time, expertise, influence) to support all schools to do their best work in the best way they know how. I have chosen to work in schools and spend my days with students, teachers and families because I deeply believe in this work and in our responsibility—individually and collectively—to support chil-

dren at this critical time in their lives. It is the very moments when they push hardest against the adults in their lives and most fiercely claim their independence when they actually need us most. Not to hold them so tightly as to crush their spirit, but consistently and securely, so when they feel least tethered, most angry, desolate and confused, they know that they can depend on us to get them to a better place. I work to help create a school that serves our students as well as it possibly can. The most important piece of what I do, however, is working with students, teachers and families at those times when what all of us are doing, despite our best intentions, isn’t working. What happens when things go wrong? When kids make mistakes, when they feel hopeless or terrible or when they make other people feel that way? What do we do to support the students who seem like they don’t want to be helped or have given up on the possibility of making things better? The answers (if there are answers) may not always be clear. But one thing is for certain: it is in these moments that we define who we are as adults and who we want to be in our children’s eyes. This is hard but important work. Noah Reinhardt is the head of the Middle School at the Packer Collegiate Institute. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three small children.

New School: A Continuing Education Leader Parsons offers one of the oldest con-ed programs in the city By Sean Creamer With the economy in the doldrums, many people have enrolled in continuing education courses to keep themselves up to date, attain a higher degree in their field of study or simply expand their pool of knowledge. The Parsons New School for PreCollege and Continuing Studies is one of the oldest hubs of higher education in the city. Founded in 1919, it has provided many different avenues of education for New York residents. It currently offers more than 1,500 classes either for credit or not for credit. “The New School was established nearly a century ago to provide education for the educated,” said Sam Biederman, the New School’s senior press officer. “Even as the university has expanded into

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other areas, it has always remained at the forefront of adult and continuing education and now provides a wide range of CE courses both on-campus and online.” Besides accredited classes, students can enroll in non-degree classes in such subjects as studio, history and businessoriented courses in art and design. These classes prepare people out of touch with their industry or who have not attended school in several years. Their programs are popular because they cater to practitioners who need to keep up to date in their studies. They are also designed to work around the schedule of a working adult. Continuing education classes are held on campus at three of the eight schools that are part of The New School. Many of the classes are also offered online

for people who have children or a work schedule that does not allow regular access to a classroom setting. Classes take place at The New School for Public Engagement, Parsons The New School for Design and Mannes College The New School for Music. Tuition at The New School is moderate, about $700 a class, according to Biederman. “Those seeking graduate education can enroll in The New School’s MA, MS, MFA and PhD programs, which run the gamut from urban policy to creative writing to fashion design,” said Biederman. “In addition, Parsons The New School for Design offers a pre-college academy for high schoolers interested in art and design.” The New School for Public Engagement offers classes in the fields of

social sciences, humanities, media studies and film, writing, foreign languages, English language studies, visual and performing arts, management and business and food studies. For students who yearn for careers in the study of architecture or the creative side of education, Parsons offers majors such as digital design, fashion design, fashion business, fine arts, graphic design, and interior and architectural design. Finally, the Mannes College tends to musically inclined clientele who can enroll in classes in the fields of instrumental and vocal performance, composition, theory, music history, early music, opera, music technology and career development. For more information, visit newschool.edu. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


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New York Institute of Technology U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said: “If we want to strengthen the American workforce, we must continue to invest in education. These investments are absolutely critical, not just for our nation’s students, teachers, and schools, but for our country’s economy.” The most important component of any child’s education is the quality of the teacher. NYIT’s School of Education offers graduate programs that prepare educators to effectively integrate instructional technologies into applied learning for all students.

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OUR TOW N

Unions Will Have Last Laugh on Cuomo The governor has some repair work to do to recapture working vote By Alan Chartock It was organized labor unions that gave working people in this country a chance to share in the American dream. Now these same unions are under attack, and it shows in the decreasing numbers of Americans who join unions. Some of the problems, of course, have to do with the often incorrect perception on the part of many Americans that unions have been infiltrated by shady characters and are led by fat cats who smoke big cigars and ride around in fancy cars. This narrative continues to claim that the initiative that made this country great has been drained out of the American spirit because of unions. In a lot of places, when people are asked to join a union, they do not, fearing that their already low wages will be drained even further and they will have little to show for their investment. Nevertheless, my bet is that unions will rise again. Many of the worst among them have been purged of the bad seeds or have at least learned their lessons. In fact, those elected leaders who have harnessed the public antipathy toward unions do so at their own risk. My bet is that the sleeping tiger may well wake up and bite them in the posterior. Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, and his compatriot, Andrew Cuomo, who some of the state’s workers are calling “Governor 1 Percent,” have waged a somewhat successful campaign to cut down on the benefits that civil service unions enjoy. In fact, there are rumblings among organized state,

In fact, those elected leaders who have harnessed the public antipathy toward unions do so at their own risk. My bet is that the sleeping tiger may well wake up and bite them in the posterior. deal was cut with both the Assembly Democrats and the Senate Republicans that they would be the beneficiaries of union money and campaign help. In

CoMMuNity Soapbox

fact, when it looked like the Democrats would take the Senate, organized civil service unions still supported the Senate Republicans. It should come as no surprise that the very aggressive governor who was going for far more was held to a minimum by the two leaders, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. Now, it remains to be seen whether the unions are angry enough to get even with the governor. Many—myself included— believe that Cuomo, the Machiavellian pragmatist, will find a way to win back the unions. In other words, he’ll give them something big. That has always been his style. He makes peace with his enemies. He appears to think that everyone has his or her price. The list of such conquests goes on and on. From the beginning, the number 2016 has been on everyone’s lips. The theory is that Cuomo will run for president that year, but something interesting happened last week. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who succeeded Hillary Clinton, announced that she would be the first to support Mrs. Clinton for president in 2016. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Cuomo heard that. More importantly, union support in that primary, if such a thing happens, is going to be crucial—not only in New York but across the country. What is that old saying, “Revenge is a dish best served cold”? Cuomo has some repair work to do, and fast. But is it too late? Alan S. Chartock is president and CEO of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio and an executive publisher at The Legislative Gazette.

The best comments from NYPress.com

Don’t Spoil the Fun

I’m pretty sure this great town of ours has ordinances against public drunkenness and disturbing the peace (“CB6 Tries to Stomp Out Pub Walks,” March 8). If they are enforced, why do we need further uptightness from Community Board 6? Let people unwind and celebrate the holiday or just celebrate life once in a while. Personally, I won’t be making the rounds with them—I don’t drink. —Mike

school in Chelsea. Long commutes. Few or no DOE transportation options. The frustration of finding and paying for transportation—all would come to an end if the DOE placed a middle school on the P.S. 158 site. It would also lift the burden from other District 2 middle schools to provide seats for these students. It goes beyond privilege. Creating a great middle school option in the Upper East Side really is a necessity. —JFN

Needed Middle School

Swap Solution

For many years, Upper East Side parents have had to scramble to get their kids into the NYC Lab School, a sought-after middle

March 29, 2012

county and city workers that portend big trouble for anyone who thinks it’s wise to scapegoat the people who carry the bedpans, repair the roads, teach the children, nurse the sick, risk their lives on our mean streets and in our prisons and care for the mentally ill and the addicted. My labor sources tell me “we will never forget Cuomo’s perfidy.” The members of the Legislature who went along with Cuomo’s plan to cut down on benefits have been feeling the heat, but they did put the brakes on much of what the governor wanted. In order to understand why the leaders of both the Republican Senate and the Democratic Assembly said no to much of Cuomo’s plan, you must understand the history of the relationship between both houses and the unions. Many years ago, under the direction of labor leaders like Norman Adler, a

I wholeheartedly agree with Steve’s assessment (“Better Solution,” Jan 26). Residents at 440 E. 62nd St. want to be

a good neighbor to Sloan-Kettering but are really taken aback by their arrogant attitude and total disregard for our building. Though respectfully asked by the Community Board to meet with us to discuss possible options with an open mind, their attorney has stated that there is nothing they are willing to do to modify their building. I have an idea: How about if SloanKettering calls the New York City Department of Parks and trades sites with them for their park on York between 61st and 60th streets? Then Sloan-Kettering can build a park on their site and build a larger building on the park site. It’s a win-win. —Barbara Kaufman

N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


ironic hopes

Health Care Fantasies and Reality ‘Obamacare’ debate overlooks how the health system actually works By Josh Rogers John Edwards’ name resurfaced in the news last week with a report that he was a client of the Upper East Side’s “Millionaire Madam” during his 2008 presidential campaign. Regardless of the truth in the allegation, there was a better reason to bring him up again. It’s hard to remember, but before the first caucus four years ago, Edwards appeared to have a plausible chance to win the Democratic nomination over the two betterfinanced candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. All three had roughly similar plans to provide health insurance to more Americans, but Edwards talked about a strategic maneuver he planned to pull in the face of certain Congressional roadblocks. His idea was to introduce a bill to end health coverage for Congress, thus challenging opponents to vote for their health care while denying it to others.

With the two-year anniversary of the passage of President Obama’s health care law coinciding with the Supreme Court debating its legality, congressional opponents have had a chance to revive their “rationing medicine” criticism. It’s as if they believe we live in a country where doctors, not insurance companies, decide on the best treatment for patients. It may work that way under Congress’s gold-plated health plan, but it is not typical in the United States, where medications, tests and doctor referrals are often held up for approval by insurance companies. When Republican opponents debated “Obamacare” two years ago, they clung to fantasies about what health care is like for many people with insurance. It was so easy for them to say that Obama’s plan would “lead to rationing” that it sounded like a misstatement borne out of genuine ignorance. Rationing has been going on for a long

time. Bureaucrats do make medical decisions. Those decrees are just not the ones we usually hear about because they are made in the private sector. It still has not sunk in that Obama’s plan was an outgrowth of what used to be conservative mainstream thinking. The Clintons probably could have gotten a similar plan passed almost 20 years ago, but they rejected Republican counter-proposals. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were not only for Obamacare before they were against it, they were for it before Obama was. In more recent years, Republican health care plans have become less reality-based. When Rudy Giuliani ran for president four years ago, he repeatedly said that he would let individuals shop for the best health insurance at the lowest price. While it’s possible to imagine companies getting into bidding wars to insure young people who have no health problems, the free market is not so kind to people with red flags in their medical records.

Health insurance has become so expensive it can often be an overriding factor in families’ job decisions. I left my full-time job a few years ago to take care of my infant son. It’s something I wanted to do, but it was also something my wife would have wanted to do. The difference was that I worked for a small company with a health plan that would have cost me many thousands of dollars more to add my wife and son. She works for a large corporation which can bargain for better rates—it costs her an extra $10 a week to cover me. Ours is by no means a hard-luck story. We were fortunate to have options and were able to pick one we liked. For too many others, health costs force people to make choices they hate and live in fear. That’s the real-world health system Obamacare is trying to change. Josh Rogers, contributing editor at Manhattan Media, is a lifelong New Yorker. Follow him @JoshRogersNYC.

Dewing Things BeTTer

Roarin’ Against Generational and Cultural Breakdowns Bridging the ‘ageism’ divide, one stereotype at a time By Bette Dewing For now, some short takes on cultural breakdowns and one breakthrough Rx you may not read elsewhere. But first a correction from my last column: 19th Precinct officer Chris Helms, not officer Liam Lynch, warned the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association about a cyclist swooping down on pedestrians and stealing their iPhones. NY1 News aired surveillance footage of one such thief. Long overdue are mandatory bicycle license plates so red light cameras can catch cyclists who routinely fracture this law of the land. Hope springs not so eternal that civic and political leaders may acknowledge such commonsense notions. No one “up there” picked up on my urging that the able-bodied help those who are not get to civic meetings, as exemplified by Mary Ford escorting Loretta Ponticelli to the recent 19th Precinct Community Council meeting on traffic safety. Isn’t that what community is all about, east side civic O u r To w n NY. c o m

leaders Betty Wallerstein and Nick Viest? We need to hear about community group lapses as well as those of the elected officials who honor someone for “blazing trails” for traffic safety and the rights of elderhood, then never bother to consult them. Primarily, the loudest citizens and accredited experts are the ones who get consulted, and even the few who know the elder experience have little ageism awareness. So I handed out copies of my related columns at two separate events mostly attended by boomers and many post-boomers at the 2012 Age Boom Academy, sponsored in part by Columbia Journalism School. Although not chosen this year as one of its 20 participating journalists, I was allowed to observe the “Why Family and Social Relationships Matter” session. These essential connections are often missing, said the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging’s Dr. Karl

Pillemer, due in part to age segregation. Not unrelated was a brief news report: “Although Al Sharpton’s mother died today, he is off to Florida to join the many protesting Trayvon Martin’s tragic shooting death.” But was he there for his mother during her ordeal with Alzheimer’s (I call it brain failure)? Did he protest the government’s relatively meager support of this most dreaded human disorder? While The Age Boom Academy and State Sen. Liz Krueger’s forum, “Who Will Take Care of Me?” were surely informative, they had me feeling that maybe I’d stayed too long at the fair. Doctors know when to die, said one Krueger handout. They resist even certain quite common procedures so they don’t burden loved ones or society. But I knew there was still more work to do when I heard Brian Lehrer’s interview with Kate Stone Lombardi, author of The Mama’s Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our

Sons Close Will Make Them Stronger. Mothers of sons, make this book a perennial best seller! And support your neighborhood bookstore, which must be preserved with vital connections between mothers and sons. And because nobody else will, I must write a letter protesting the paper of record’s 3/24 story “With a Poison Tongue, Putting a Smile on the Nation’s Aging Faces.” A wildly popular 61-year-old male comic in Japan makes the most demeaning jokes about natural aging conditions, and even boomer-age women there pay big bucks to hear him. Robert Nicholas worries that the new Betty White sitcom, Off Our Rockers, where the old play outrageous pranks on the young, may further divide generations and tell elders to laugh off their troubles often caused or worsened by an ageist and age-segregating culture. If so, old lion Bette is sure gonna roar! You too? dewingbetter@aol.com March 29, 2012

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